Philippines: November 19, 2001

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Nur Misuari, the governor of the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) has rebelled, trying to stall regional elections scheduled for November 26th. Some 500 armed Misuari supporters and a hundred Abu Sayyaf rebels have attacked government troops and administrative offices.  Misuari became governor in 1996. But the upcoming elections threaten Misuari's corrupt rule. Earlier this year, the local Moro (Moslem) political organization removed Misuari as its leader for inefficiency. The government is backing a Misuari opponent who pledges clean government. Among other scams, Misuari was also working with the Abu Sayyaf rebels, who had collected so much ransom money from kidnappings that they were able to bribe, or at least try to bribe, just about anyone. ARMM contains the islands of Jolo and Basilan, which have been the main stomping grounds of Abu Sayyaf. Misuari began leading Moro National Liberation Front rebels (MNLF) in 1972, but the MNLF made peace with the government in 1996.

 

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