Philippines: November 12, 2004

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Fighting between government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) forces has resulted in several deaths (depending on who you believe, either seven MILF personnel or three paramilitary personnel) and has forced anywhere from 1,000-3,000 people to flee their homes. Both sides are blaming each other for this breakdown in the 15-month-old cease-fire. MILF claims that the fighting was the result of a family feud, but the Philippine Army is considering filing a formal complaint over the incident. A joint monitoring team is en route to 
ensure another gun battle does not break out.

This isnt the only problem MILF has in trying to keep the peace process on track. MILF is also fending off claims that some young Moro fighters are receiving training in suicide bombing from the Indonesian group Jemaah Islamiya (JI), at Mt. Kararao in Central Mindanao. JI is tied to al-Qaeda, and should links between MILF and JI be proven, MILF will be in serious trouble.

In an unrelated event, an Italian working with a NGO was kidnapped and later freed after 20 hours. The Philippine military has said MILF was not involved, and in fact credited the group for assisting in the safe recovery of the aid worker. - Harold C. Hutchison (hchutch@ix.netcom.com)

 

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