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Manila Welcomes Ceasefire Offer by Muslim Rebels

The biggest Muslim rebel group in the Philippines said on Wednesday it planned a 10-day cease-fire starting next week, prompting the government to consider halting the army’s offensive, if the offer was judged to be sincere. Manila and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) have made many attempts to end three decades of violence that has killed at least 120,000 people in the overwhelmingly Christian nation and undermined the confidence of foreign investors and tourists. The government recently shelved peace talks being brokered by Malaysia after a spate of attacks on the southern island of Mindanao, including three bombings, that it blamed on the MILF. Ghazali Jaafar, vice chairman of the MILF, said the cease-fire would begin on June 2 to allow time for rebel commanders to spread the word to the group’s estimated 12,000 fighters. “We wanted to give peace a chance in Mindanao,” Jaafar said in a radio interview. “The MILF is committed to a peaceful and politically negotiated settlement.” Full Story

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