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Philippines on High Alert Against Muslim Threats

The Philippines put 60,000 troops on high alert in the southern region of Mindanao Monday to counter threats by Muslim militants, a day after U.S. forces began counter-terrorism exercises in the area. Sunday, soldiers shot dead six Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) guerrillas in a clash in Mindanao’s Cotabato province, where government forces captured a rebel stronghold after nearly a week of bloody fighting earlier this month. Armed forces chief Gen. Dionisio Santiago ordered the alert following intelligence reports that Islamic militants could attack military detachments and bomb civilian targets on Mindanao, an army spokesman said. “There have been reported sightings of pockets of MILF forces. This is an indication that they are preparing for something,” Lt. Col. Michael Manquiquis told reporters. “By placing our troops on red alert, we are preparing them to respond immediately.” The MILF is the biggest of four Muslim factions fighting for an Islamic state in the south of the mainly Catholic country. Full Story

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