» 07/30/2008, 00.00
Mindanao: four Christians killed, a fifth missing
Yesterday an armed group ambushed a bus in Lanao del Sur, stronghold of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. The group robbed passengers and then shot the men. The Philippine Church urges an accord between the government and MILF to avoid an escalation in violent attacks.
Cotabato City (AsiaNews) – Armed men stopped a mini-bus and murdered four Christian male passengers execution-style in Mindanao yesterday, while a fifth passenger is still missing.
According to police, the murder took place in an area considered a bastion of rebels from the Moro Islamic Front, where criminal episodes of this nature have occurred in the past. Security officials failed to confirm is if the assassination was of a confessional nature or whether the Muslim militants were responsible. The bus was carrying about 15 people when it was stopped near Malabang, Lanao del Sur, an area under MILF control. The passengers were robbed but the women were allowed to leave unharmed; then four of the five men were dragged into a forest and shot in the head at close range, the fifth abducted.
The signing of a peace accord between the central government and MILF rebels, held responsible for the July 24th attack in Davao del Sur, appears increasingly fragile. Also Yesterday 30 suspected MILF rebels attacked a paramilitary outpost in Dualing, Midsayap, North Cotabato, killing a civilian and wounding four others.
MILF maintains its right to control some of the majority Muslim regions of Mindanao, the theatre of bloody episodes of violence: on the negotiating table the creation of a “federal” state – the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), enlarged by the annexation of a further 72 Muslim majority villages – along with rights to exploit territorial resources. Villages will be able to decide by popular referendum whether to join the ARMM, but the deputy governor of North Nord Cotabato has underlined the uselessness of the vote because of “threats and vote rigging aimed at forcing the villagers to vote for annexation”.
The Philippine Catholic Church, through the bishop’s conference, has urged “the government and the MILF to return to the negotiating table after talks ended again in an impasse”. Archbishop Antonio Ledesma of Cagayan de Oro and CBCP Commission on Inter-religious Dialogue head has strenuously called for “an end to the violence” and “the re-starting of peace talks”. This is why the bishops are in favour of third party mediators between the two sides. The Malaysian government had been serving as facilitator a role that requires “care, diligence and time” in order to bear fruit. But many fear that time is of essence: if a deal is not reached soon, war could return to Mindanao
Philippine President cancels deal with MILF
Due to the heightened climate of violence in recent weeks, Arroyo orders a halt to the signing of the memorandum of agreement (Moa) between the government and Islamic rebels. It was to have established the territories of the Muslim autonomous region of Mindanao (Armm).
Mindanao, at least 20 killed in clashes between the army and Islamic rebels
The worst affected province is Sulu, on the border with Malaysia. The clashes are the most serious since the signing of the Framework Agreement between the Philippine government and rebels of the Moro Islamic Liberation in November 2012. Extremist groups belonging to al-Qaeda linked Abu Sayyaf foment violence. Fear of attacks against civilian targets in the capital of Jolo.
Bishops and Islamic leaders appeal for resumption of negotiations
The army is advancing, but more than 160,000 people have fled from their homes, leaving everything behind. Catholic bishops and Islamic leaders ask the government and rebels to resume talks.
Week of Peace in Mindanao: Dialogue between the MILF and the government, stop the killing
From 26 November to 2 December in the southern archipelago Christians and Muslims united for peace. Prayers for the victims of the massacre in Maguindanao and for a final agreement between Manila and Muslim rebels. Catholic priest: we must protect our "common homeland".
Mindanao: Muslim leader calls for end to violence
Ustadz Omar Pasigan, spiritual leader of Muslims in the southern archipelago, recalled that it was forbidden for Muslim followers to kill without reason, even if the target was an unbeliever. He urged rebels to go for peace talks with Manila.
YEMEN â€“ ITALY
Salesian vicar says priest abducted in Yemen still alive, urges prayers for him
Fr Cereda confirms the latest reports saying that Jihadi-held Fr Tom is "still alive". He stresses the need to focus on the case, keeping communication channels open and media attention high without pressure or “false hopes”. Meanwhile, Salesians continue to pray, hold Masses and perform Eucharistic adorations for the kidnapped clergyman.
05/05/2016 YEMEN â€" ITALY
AsiaNews IS ALSO A MONTHLY!
AsiaNews monthly magazine (in Italian) is free.