RealNews

Rebels May be Given Immunity for Talks

The Philippines Government is seeking temporary legal immunity for leaders of an Islamic separatist movement as part of a renewed effort to end a 25-year rebellion in southern Mindanao province. Peace negotiations between the Government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front(MILF), which has been accused of scores of terrorist-related killings, could start this week if Philippines courts grant unprecedented approval for the group’s leadership to travel to talks in Malaysia. Justice Department officials in Manila are applying to local courts in Mindanao for the suspension of arrest warrants for murder issued against the MILF chairman, Salamat Hashim, and other leaders of the 12,000-strong guerilla movement. The Government has blamed the MILF for a string of bombings in the south over the past year in which at least 100 people have been killed. The movement denied allegations by the United States and regional governments that its training camps in Mindanao have hosted key members of Jemaah Islamiah – the radical Islamic group behind a series of terrorist strikes across South-East Asia, including the Bali bombings last year. Full Story

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