Philippines: thousands flee Mindanao fighting

The Philippine military launched attacks on Muslim guerillas in Mindanao Aug. 9 after hundreds of fighters with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) defied an ultimatum to withdraw from Christian villages. At least six soldiers were wounded in clashes with the MILF in the villages in Aleosan and Pikit. The fighting has displaced up to 100,000 villagers in North Cotabato province. Residents of the predominantly Christian province have struggled to recover after Typhoon Fengshen ravaged farmlands in June. (AlJazeera, Aug. 10) On Aug. 10 there were reports of Philippine Air Force planes bombing MILF positions. The contested villages lie outside the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), where regional elections were to be held on Aug. 11. (, Philippines, Aug. 11)

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