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UN chief urges end to Sabah conflict

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called for an end to the ongoing conflict in Sabah between followers of Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III and Malaysian security forces. In a statement, the UN said Ban is 'closely following' the developments and is seeking an "end to the violence and encourages dialogue among all the parties for a peaceful resolution of the situation."  
The statement also said Ban "expresses concern about the impact this situation may have on the civilian population, including migrants" in Sabah. At the same time, Ban "urges all parties to facilitate delivery of humanitarian assistance and act in full respect of international human rights norms and standards," the statement said.  
The violence in Sabah was first reported on March 1, Friday, when Malaysian forces and Kiram's followers engaged in fighting following a 17-day standoff.  Reports on the number of casualties have been varying, with a Reuters report putting the death toll at 40. On the other hand, previous reports by Agence France-Presse said there have been 27 people reported killed. — Gian C. Geronimo/RSJ, GMA News