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More quake dead on Malaysia's Mount Kinabalu

The bodies of at least 11 earthquake victims have been recovered from Malaysia's Mount Kinabalu on Borneo Island. Eight more people are still missing after the region was struck by a magnitude 5.9 quake.

The toll from Friday's earthquake rose to at least 11 on Saturday, as rescuers finished

escorting 137 hikers down the mountain to safety.

Authorities said those killed included a 12-year-old Singaporean girl who had been on a class excursion to the peak as well as a Malaysian mountain guide. Three climbers were being treated for serious injuries.

Those still missing included Singaporeans, Malaysians, Japanese and a Filipino.

Sabah state tourism minister Masidi Manjun said all climbing and treks on Mount Kinabulu would be suspended for at least three weeks to allow for repairs to damaged trails, accommodation and other facilities.

The mountain looms over a state otherwise

famed for its rainforests, wild rivers and coral reefs.

Thousands make two-day round trips to the peak each year.

Speculation

The mountain is sacred to the local Kadazan Dusun tribal group. Malaysian social media carried speculation that the earthquake was a sign that deceased Dusun relatives were angry at nude photos being posted by Western tourists last week.

Friday's quake, one of the strongest in Malaysia in decades, jolted a wide area of Sabah state. It shattered windows, cracked walls and sent people fleeing from buildings in the state capital of Kota Kinabalu.

Beyond the mountain, no reports of major damage and casualties have emerged.

ipj/jlw (dpa, AFP, AP)

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