Philippines: August 3, 2001


Overnight, hooded Abu Sayyaf rebels raided a Christian village on Basilan and took 34 civilians captive. With police and troops in pursuit, several captives escaped. But the rebels also killed four of their captives by beheading them. The rebels are demanding that the army and police stop looking for them or more captives will die. Meanwhile, in Malaysia, the two largest Moro (Moslem) rebel groups in the Philippines (the MNLF and MILF) agreed to merge. The MNLF has already made peace with the government (in 1995). The MILF itself is a splinter group of the MNLF, having split in 1978. This will make it more likely that the MILF peace negotiations with the government will succeed. 


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