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    » 07/19/2007, 00.00

    PHILIPPINES

    An Islamic missionary murdered and hacked to pieces in Basilan

    Santosh Digal

    The macabre remains were found yesterday in an abandoned sack. The man had collaborated with the Philippine army providing them with information on Abu Sayyaf and other Muslim rebels. The risk of hostilities re-starting is high: the army will carry out “punitive action” against the rebels who killed and decapitated a group of marines.

    Zamboanga (AsiaNews) – A Muslim missionary who tipped off authorities about the activities and whereabouts of al-Qaeda-linked militants on a southern Philippine island has been killed and his body mutilated the remains, chopped into pieces and put inside a sack, were found on July 18 in  Balagtasan village in Lamitan town on Basilan Island. Marine Col. Ramiro Alivio, the island's military chief, said the slain missionary, who was not identified, had provided information to the military about Abu Sayyaf militants and other ''lawless elements'' on Basilan.

    “We condemn the killing and authorities are now hunting the culprits behind the gruesome murder,'' Alivio said. Several years ago, Basilan was a hotbed of Abu Sayyaf militants, but US-backed offensives by the Philippine military have crippled the group. The government has touted the success as a showcase of counterterrorism cooperation and related humanitarian development, but the rebels have yet to be quashed.  July 12th 14 marines were killed and 10 of them beheaded in an ambush blamed on Muslim rebels, while there was a bloody July 10 attack on a marine convoy returning from a search for kidnapped Italian priest Fr Giancarlo Bossi.  These attacks have threatened to re-ignite the conflict.

    The military said it relieved two marine commanders on Basilan after the killing of 14 troops. Navy spokesman Cmdr. Giovanni Carlo Bacordo said they will face an investigation into whether their were lapses in their leadership. Police said Wednesday they will file criminal charges within a week against local leaders of the separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front and members of the Abu Sayyaf for the attack, which the military said was a violation of a 2003 cease-fire with the MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front), a rebel group. The MILF has acknowledged its forces clashed with the marines, but accused them of encroaching on rebel strongholds and disarming a guerrilla in violation of the truce. The MILF denied involvement in the beheadings.

    Military spokesman Lt. Col. Bartolome Bacarro said troops will start ''punitive actions'' against the guerrillas involved in the attack if the MILF does not surrender them within a week.

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    See also

    12/06/2007 PHILIPPINES
    Mindanao, the search for Fr. Bossi continues
    The Catholic prelature in Ipil has created an emergency task force. The identity of the kidnappers and their motives remain unknown.

    30/07/2008 PHILIPPINES
    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.

    05/03/2013 MALAYSIA - PHILIPPINES
    Sabah, Kuala Lumpur launches offensive against Filipino rebels
    The bombings began this morning in Sabah in East Malaysia. They are the prelude to an imminent ground attack. The Filipinos' rebels of the "real army of the Sultanate of Sulu" (Mindanao) announce that they are ready to die. Philippine President Aquino points his finger at his political opponents against the recent agreements between Moro rebels and Manila.

    11/11/2008 PHILIPPINES - VATICAN
    Pope prays for Mindanao's Muslims
    The Philippine Council for Islam and Democracy had asked for help in bringing an end to the humanitarian crisis in Mindanao, and in reviving talks between pro-independence Muslims and the government of Manila. Amina Rasul-Bernardo, the only Muslim woman to participate in the Christian-Islamic forum at the beginning of November, has written an account on her meeting with the pope: "He told me that he will pray for us."

    08/08/2005 PHILIPPINES
    Thousands of troops to supervise elections in Mindanao
    There are fears of violence, electoral fraud and Islamic terrorism. Ten suicide bombers from Indonesia might be in the country. Catholic sources warn that no one will be able to vote freely because electoral corruption is too ingrained—many will abstain.



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