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    » 02/08/2011, 00.00

    PHILIPPINES

    Muslim rebels set fire to Christian village in Mindanao



    No one dies, but dozens have to abandon their homes. Suspicions fall on a new armed group, born from a split in the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). Tomorrow, a new round of peace talks start between MILF and the Filipino government.

    Manila (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Muslim extremists set fire to a Christian village near the town of Mlang (North Cotabato, Mindanao). News so far exclude any deaths, but dozens of people have had to abandon their homes.

    Filipino military sources say the attack is the work of Ameril Umbra Kato, a former leader with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), who recently set up his own militias to continue fighting for an Islamic state in Mindanao.

    MILF spokesman Eid Kabalu said the front has nothing to do with the incident. “We are no involved. It's a long standing conflict between Christian and Muslim groups in the area," said Kabalu.

    Meanwhile, MILF and the government are starting a new round of talks in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) tomorrow.

    Experts note that the split within the MILF has weakened the group’s leaders, who are open for dialogue. Many now fear renewed fighting between Muslim rebels and the Filipino military.

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    See also

    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.

    02/06/2005 PHILIPPINES
    Peace between Moro rebels and government near


    24/01/2006 PHILIPPINES
    Jailed Jolo Muslim rebel leader to be set free
    Moro National Liberation Front leader Nur Misuari will be freed on health grounds. Rebel leader throws his support behind Filipino President Arroyo and is in favour of US troop presence in Jolo.

    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."

    08/01/2010 PHILIPPINES
    Mindanao: spreading a culture of peace through radio
    The Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate inaugurate their new media centre. Through news, music and entertainment, they plan to spread a culture of peace among the people in one of the most violence-stricken regions of the Philippines.



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