08/20/2007, 00.00
PHILIPPINES
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Mindanao, the Church attacks the “slaughter in the south”

by Santosh Digal
The association of Superiors of Religious Congregations asks Manila to use dialogue and not violence to pacify the south. Clashes between the army and Abu Sayyaf have displaced over 80 thousand families.

Manila (AsiaNews) – Catholic leaders have expressed “grief” at the latest cycle of violence in the South of the country between soldiers of the regular army and suspected members of the terrorist group Abu Sayyaf. These clashes they warn have already displaced over 80 thousand innocent families, in fear for their lives.

 

The Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines (AMRSP), a nationwide organization of Catholic religious men and women congregation, condemned the government’s “eye-for-an-eye, tooth-for-a-tooth” response to the killing and beheading of the soldiers and described the loss as “senseless and a waste of lives”. The soldiers combing of the area and gun battles “which take place without any form of control, based on simple indications and personal rancour”.

 

In a statement, the Catholic leaders as that “the course of events change, giving precedence to dialogue, the only way forward for negotiating true peace. The killing of the soldiers and the beheading of some are truly abhorrent acts. But why should we follow the way of violence, resorting to similarly abhorrent acts in order to ‘correct’ violence?” The reference is to the 15 soldier’s beheaded last weekend in Basilan, in the south of the country.

 

Local Bishop Jumoad joined the Associations appeal: “I am frustrated because we work for peace but we see only violence.  I am deeply saddened by these crimes, which destroy peace in our society.  The only real answer is to educate our people to peace”.

 

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