RealNews

Rebels in Bloody Bid to Force Manila to Negotiate

Cornered by the military, they are resorting to greater violence to push the government into peace talks. Losing ground and men to the military offensive, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is scaling up the violence to force Manila back to the negotiating table, say analysts. Last week, at least 21 people were killed and more than 160 hurt in a spate of bomb attacks blamed on the group. While the government maintains that peace is still an option, National Security Adviser Roilo Golez stressed that talks will continue alongside the military campaign. ‘Sometimes there must be war before peace can be achieved,’ he said recently. But Filipinos now seem to believe that peace negotiations with the MILF should be stopped altogether. The talks, set to resume last month, were shelved following clashes between the rebels and government troops in late January. ‘We want peace. But we will not go back to the negotiating table until we are convinced of the government’s sincerity,’ said MILF spokesman Eid Kabalu. The 12,500-strong MILF hopes to set up an independent Islamic state in the southern region of Mindanao. Full Story

OODA Analyst

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