On the one hand we have this report of a breakthrough between the Philippine government and the MILF
Philippine government negotiators and Islamic separatist rebels reached a breakthrough in peace talks, resolving several key sticking points relating to the territorial rights of Muslim tribes in the southern Philippines.
The three-day talks, brokered by Malaysia between Manila and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, “concluded on a high note with both parties expressing deep satisfaction over the result,” a joint statement said on Wednesday.
“They hailed the outcome of the meeting as a breakthrough toward a just and durable solution” to the conflict in the southern Philippines, the statement added.
On the other hand, and within a few hours of this announcement, the same “rebels” noted a “high note” of their own by kidnapping 19 students.
Armed men have abducted 19 people, most of them university students, in the troubled southern Philippine island of Mindanao.
Local anti-terrorism task force chief Brigadier General Ben Dolorfino says the suspects boarded a mini-bus carrying the students and later commandeered it near the town of Piagapo. Twenty-two passengers were initially taken, but three were later let go. No one has claimed responsibility for the abduction, but the area is a hotbed of Muslim separatists waging a decades-old rebellion in the south.
“Initial reports are that this is a bandit group out to make a fast buck,” Brigadier General Dolorfino said.
He says three other students, two of them Muslims, who were freed by the gunmen told police that the suspects were armed with pistols and M-16 assault rifles.
“Immediately after we received the information, we sent our troops to pursue the kidnappers and we initially recovered three victims,” Brigadier General Amando Melo, commander of the 1st Marine Brigade operating in the area, said. “We are still investigating the case to determine the perpetrators of the incident. No ransom was relayed yet. Our pursuit operations continue.”
Several Muslim armed groups operate in Mindanao, including the 12,000-strong separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the smaller Abu Sayyaf, a militant organisation wanted by both US and Philippine authorities.
So, who made the largest “breakthrough?” A bunch of politicians that eventually thru this “peace” process will cede terratory to “rebels,” “separatists,” terrorists and kidnappers? Or those that have taken 19 innocent students hostage, who will eventually receive thousands of Pesos in ransom payoffs that will finance further terrorist activity?
UPDATE: East Day is reporting the hostages were rescued within 12 hours and there is an ongoing firefight with the jihadist cut throats.