People Flee As Troops Clash With Muslim Guerrillas
February 26, 2013 in Uncategorized
A cease-fire more clashes, nearly 6,000 villagers have fled from Al-Barka and outlying towns in Basilan, a predominantly Muslim province about 550 miles (880 kilometers) south of Manila, Office of Civil Defense Administrator Benito Ramos said.
In Zamboanga Sibugay, also in the south, about 10,800 villagers have fled to safety from three towns, including in coastal Payao, where air force OV-10 bomber planes, naval gunboats and about 700 army troops and police have been trying to flush out more than 120 former Muslim rebels and bandits encamped in a hilly forest, officials said.
Zamboanga Sibugay police chief Ruben Cariaga said military aircraft staged bombing runs for a second day Tuesday in Payao. He expressed optimism the peace talks would survive the latest test.
“We’ve consistently said that the most civilized way to end the rebellion is through negotiations and not by the law of the gun, Al Haq told The Associated Press by telephone.
Japanese Ambassador Toshinao Urabe, whose country has been backing the peace talks for years, said he hoped the cease-fire would be respected and that both sides would continue efforts to foster peace talks