RealNews

Manila Orders Halt to Battle with Muslim Rebels

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo ordered Philippine troops to suspend fighting with Muslim rebels Tuesday after seven militants and one soldier were killed in renewed clashes on the southern island of Mindanao. Clashes erupted at dawn around the town of Pikit, 500 miles south of Manila, after the army sent 3,000 soldiers into the area to confront about 1,000 Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) fighters. The military said the rebels were planning retaliatory strikes if the United States attacked Iraq. Almost 30,000 people fled villages around Pikit to avoid the fighting. Five soldiers were wounded in the clashes, military reports said. Full Story

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