– 27 KILLED IN SOUTHERN PHILIPPINES
The Philippine military has been fighting a faction of MILF on the island of Mindanao for the last eight months, after the group burned farms and homes in Catholic-dominated towns there.
Lieutenant-Colonel Jonathan Ponce said that soldiers killed about 20 fighters and that dozens more were wounded during an eight-hour battle on Friday near the Liguasan Marsh area. Based on our intelligence, this group was planning to attack villages so we pre-empted them,” he said.
Nearly 500 people have been killed in clashes since 08/2008 last year when peace talks between the government and the MILF stalled after Manila’s high court scrapped a proposed deal to cede a larger ancestral homeland for Muslims in the south.
Later, the Malaysians pulled out when the talks collapsed.
The Philippines is now trying to restart talks and has formed a new peace negotiating panel. Malaysia is expected to mediate between the government and the MILF.
The group has been fighting for self-determination for nearly 40 years. The conflict has claimed 120,000 lives and displaced two million people.
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