RealNews

Manila demands 'bombers' before truce with rebels

Muslim separatists in the southern Philippines yesterday declared a 10-day ceasefire but Manila insisted that the rebels must first hand over members allegedly involved in bombing attacks and to cut ties with terror groups. The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (Milf), the 12,000-strong rebel army seeking independence for the Muslim minority in the southern island of Mindanao, said it would halt offensives from June 2 to give government and rebel representatives a chance to resume peace talks disrupted by fighting since February. President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo said the armed group’s ceasefire offer was “a positive and welcome development” but urged them first to show sincerity by complying with government demands for the surrender of Milf members held to be responsible for a spate of bombings in southern cities. She also wants the Milf to cut links to international terror groups. Mrs Macapagal said that if the Milf complied with the government’s demands, she was prepared to talk about a truce leading to apeace agreement with the rebel group, which has been fighting for Muslim independence for 19 years. Full Story

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