Monday, July 8, 2013

Philippines: Army calls off offensive on rebels of Bangsamoro Islamic Liberation Movement (BILM)


Philippine troops have called off an offensive that killed dozens of breakaway Muslim rebels and dislodged 100 others from two southern strongholds ahead of the resumption this week of peace talks between the government and a main insurgent group, military officials said Monday.

Village officials and witnesses have reported between 36 to 80 armed fighters of the rebel faction Bangsamoro Islamic Liberation Movement were killed in clashes over the weekend in villages of a vast marshland bordering the provinces of Maguindanao and North Cotabato, according to army officials.

An army officer and five soldiers were killed in the firefights, which shattered months of relative calm in the south’s volatile central heartland.

The breakaway rebels abandoned the 11,000-strong Moro Islamic Liberation Front, which is engaged in talks with the government for an autonomy deal, two years ago. They vowed to continue fighting for a separate homeland for minority Muslims in the south of the largely Roman Catholic Philippines.

The News: … offensive-on-rebels/



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