Navy Capt Rene Yongque of Task Force 62 in Tawi-Tawi said personnel aboard the patrol ship spotted the two boats around 9am and were escorting them to Bongao in Tawi-Tawi.
He said those in the boats were Filipinos fleeing Sabah and were not followers of self-styled Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III.
“They will immediately be turned over to the Task Force Basulta on Sabah Crisis for processing. I repeat, they are not armed nor they are followers of Kiram. They are just ordinary people.” he said.
A group of armed gunmen holed up in Kampung Tanduo, near Lahad Datu on Sabah’s east coast, were involved in a stand-off with Malaysian security forces from Feb 9.
On Tuesday, the Malaysian armed and police forces launched an all-out offensive against the gunmen, said to be followers of Kiram.