Ever since I can remember, the Philippine Government has been battling Muslim insurgents in the southern islands of Mindanao. This, despite the formation of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) in August of 1989. However, to say that this is just an armed rebellion is an oversimplification. Then again, nothing is ever simple in warfare is there?
Local reports quote the Philippine Army as pointing the blame to the Abu Sayaff, a tagged terrorist group with alleged links to the Al Qaeda hiding about the Sulu province. However, according to a BBC report, the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) have claimed responsibility for the attack. To make the short story long, the MNLF blames the Philippine Armed Forces as the instigator and that they were just retaliating for the Army's earlier attacks at an MNLF camp.
Round and round it goes, where it stops nobody knows.
In the meantime, while the big boys play whodunit, innocent people - even children - are killed at the crossfire.
The centuries-old scars of Mindanao have been itched and bared open time again by both sides - old and contemporary Moros fighting for an independent Muslim state, and the Philippine government quelling a socio-political discord. It is high time for healing and hopefully a lasting peace for these blood-drenched southern lands of the Philippines.
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