Mindanao Jihad Update. “Bloody clash in south Philippines,” from BBC News, March 28:
Muslim rebels and the army have fought an eight-hour battle in the southern Philippines, leaving 20 insurgents and seven soldiers dead, the military says.
Lt Col Jonathan Ponce said the army attacked rebels from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to stop them from ransacking nearby villages.
The MILF blamed the army for the battle, on Mindanao island.
Hundreds have died and many thousands have been displaced on Mindanao since August, when peace talks foundered.
The MILF, the largest of the country’s numerous separatist groups, has been fighting for an independent homeland for decades. […]
The battle came as President Gloria Arroyo was visiting the province and was just a few miles away from the violence.
The government and MILF negotiators framed a deal last year which would have expanded an autonomous Muslim region on Mindanao.
But parliament blocked the agreement, saying the government had not adequately consulted Christian communities in Mindanao – who form a majority on the island.
After the deal collapsed, groups of disaffected MILF guerrillas rampaged through Christian villages, killing civilians and burning houses and land….
That’ll show ’em its a Religion of Peace!