Philippines: February 20, 2001


The president ordered a unilateral ceasefire against the MILF as a gesture to encourage the resumption of peace talks. The MILF has been taking a beating from the army offensive during the last year. But the army has taken a lot of casualties and there is a growing refugee problem in the south as civilians flee the fighting. The MILF has expressed interest in renewing talks, but the army knows that any ceasefire would give the rebels an opportunity to rebuild their lost base camps and combat units. On Jolo, six people, including four policemen, were kidnapped from a beach. The Abu Sayyaf was suspected. 


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