The army has captured fifteen MILF
camps in the south, and driven over 500 MILF fighters into the bush. The MILF
high command says these gunmen, who drove over a quarter of a million Christian
villagers from their homes, are "renegades", but refuses to help
capture the two MILF commanders who led these raids. The MILF can't stand up to
the army, but over the last three decades, they have demonstrated an ability to
stage these hit-and-run raids. What's different now is that the military has
more helicopters and warplanes available, causing the MILF to take higher
losses from these raids. In the recent battles, the MILF raiders lost about 20
percent of their number when the government security forces retaliated. The
MILF also lost their camps (where they live).
2008: The government refused to resume
peace talks with the MILF, and has sent over 6,000 soldiers and police to kill
or capture the hundreds of MILF fighters who sought to drive Christians out of
territory claimed by the MILF as Moslem.
2008: The army is moving against MILF camps, and about 30 rebels have died in
the last two days. Over a week of violence have left nearly 150 dead,
two-thirds of them MILF, most of the rest Christian civilians. Over 200,000
Christians have been driven from their homes. The army is chasing the MILF
gunmen back to their remote camps. The MILF has called for a resumption of
2008: The government has dropped the
peace deal with the MILF, after months of intense negotiations. The major
stumbling block was the transfer of Christian occupied territory to the control
of the new autonomous Moslem region in the south. This was very unpopular with
the hundreds of thousands of Christians involved and, to the politicians surprise,
with most other Christians as well. The Moslems are a small minority (5
percent) in the Philippines, but they claim "ancestral control" over
a lot of territory in the south that has long been occupied by Christians.
2008: Retreating MILF gunmen took 63
human shields, but released them later. At least three dozen Christians died in
several days of MILF raids, and over 40,000 Christian civilians fled. The MILF
condemned the attacks, blaming two renegade MILF commanders (known as Commander Bravo and Commander Kato) who
were lashing out at the refusal of the government to turn over Christian
occupied territory to Moslem control.
2008: Several hundred MILF gunmen
attacked Christian towns in the south, killing 28 civilians and three security
men. These raids were for spreading terror, as well as looting. The army
responded within 24 hours, and chased the MILF gunmen away.
2008: Two bombs were found and disabled
in the south. One was aimed at a Christian (anti-MILF) politician, and the
other in a movie theater. Two other bombs did go off, in low-budget hotels,
wounding a few people.
2008: In the last week, Moslem violence
against Christians in the south has left nine dead and over 150,000 people
driven from their homes. Moslem militias (the MILF) are trying to take control
of territory they claim as "traditionally Moslem." The army has driven
the Moslem gunmen back, for the moment.