Philippines: Making Peace With A Bang


November 18, 2007: In the north, soldiers clashed with a group of 30 NPA rebels, killing two of them. Meanwhile, the Moslem separatist group MILF, has finally worked out a peace deal with the government. The final obstacle was defining the borders of the Moslem areas in the south. The other Moslem separatist group MNLF, which made peace in the 1990s, protested the MILF deal, as a way of saying they wanted more goodies. The MNLF peace deal has been crippled by corruption and clan warfare in the south, but the Moslems tend to blame the government for the failure.

November 17, 2007: Police in the south (Cotabato City) found and defused a terrorist bomb.

November 15, 2007: In the capital, police sought to arrest suspects in the bombing two days ago, but were met by gunfire. Two suspects were killed, but much evidence was seized, which indicated the bombing was the work of Abu Sayyaf. Three other suspects were arrested.

November 14, 2007: Peace talks with the MNLF in Saudi Arabia have sorted out some of the disagreements that had developed between the Moslem group and the government.

November 13, 2007: In the capital, a bomb exploded outside the House of Representatives, killing a recently elected Moslem legislator, Wahab Akbar, who used to be governor of Abu Sayyaf home base Basilan. The bombing killed three others, and wounded at least a dozen. Akbar was a member of the Moslem separatist group, MNLF, which has been unofficially siding with Abu Sayyaf. MNLF made peace with the government 11 years ago, but tensions remain, and the group has taken responsibility for ambushing and killing soldiers last Summer. To Abu Sayyaf, Akbar is seen as a traitor as he, and many MNLF leaders have cooperated with the government. Akbar himself was one of the founders of Abu Sayyaf in the 1990s, but switched sides in 1998, when he concluded that Islamic extremism would ultimately fail.




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