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Philippines

MILF admits split could hamper Philippines peace talks

Reuters

The largest Muslim insurgent group in the Philippines says it has a potentially serious rebellion in its ranks after a key leader broke away ahead of peace talks with the Philippine government. 

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Ameril Umbrakato left the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the MILF, seven months ago taking with him at least 1,000 fighters, MILF leader Murad Ebrahim told a press conference Saturday.

Another round of peace talks is due to start in Malaysia in Wednesday and the government has already warned the group's leaders that the breakaway could undermine the talks.

Umbrakato has accused the MILF leadership of turning its back on the original goal of an independent Muslim nation.

"We are talking with them and urging them to toe the line on the MILF position," Murad said.

Previous peace talks collapsed in 2008 after the Supreme Court outlawed a draft peace settlement that would have given the MILF control over large areas of the mineral-rich southern island of Mindanao.

On the northern island of Luzon, coconut meat trader Federico Bico, one if his sons and two bodyguards were killed when they fought with seven communist New People's Army  gunmen who arrived on their farm demanding money, the military said.

 

 

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