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Arroyo Orders Army to Resume Attacks on Muslim Guerillas

President Gloria Arroyo Wednesday ordered the armed forces to resume a major offensive against criminal gangs in the southern Philippines after her ceasefire order failed to stop fierce fighting between guerillas and soldiers. ‘As of 2 pm today, I have ordered the Armed Forces of the Philippines to capture and occupy the Buliok complex fronting the Liguasan marsh area in central Mindanao,’ Mrs Arroyo said in a statement. As many as 70 Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels and three soldiers have been killed since the fighting in southern Pikit town and surrounding areas erupted on Tuesday, Army spokesman Major Julieto Ando said. Fifteen soldiers were wounded, he added. The military launched an offensive on the MILF-held territory on Tuesday against kidnappers and terrorist bombers, who it charged were being sheltered by the 12,500-member rebel organisation. Full Story

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