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Philippine Muslim rebel leader says last chance for peace

Last Updated: Saturday, September 19, 2009 - 13:31

Sultan Kudarat: The leader of the Muslim insurgency in the southern Philippines warned on Saturday that upcoming peace talks may be the last chance for a peaceful settlement with the government.
Murad Ibrahim, chairman of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), also warned of "anarchy" if the government fails to seal a peace accord.

"If this (series of talks) will not succeed, I don`t see the possibility of another one. We feel there can be anarchy if it does not proceed," he said.

"And this could lead to a situation where there is no more control," of the MILF guerrillas in the field, he said.

"This will go from generation to generation," he said, adding that most of the MILF fighters, now in their 30s-40s, grew up during the height of the fighting and were "more emboldened and radical."

"In the past years, the government only paid lip service to the peace process," he complained, saying it had only used it as part of the counter-insurgency plan and not as a way to really achieve peace.

Speaking at a tightly-secured MILF camp outside the city of Cotabato, Ibrahim said the rebels would take what they could under the government of President Gloria Arroyo "but what is important is we are manifesting our sincerity."

Bureau Report

First Published: Saturday, September 19, 2009 - 13:31
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