Philippine Military Kills 37 Islamist Rebels Opposed To Mindanao Peace Deal

Splinter groups have vowed to fight plans to form autonomous Muslim region in south, saying pact involves too many compromises

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Mark Navales / AFP / Getty Images

Philippine military personnel man a mobile check point near the area where government troops and members of a Muslim renegade faction clashed in Rajah Buayan, Maguindanao province, on the southern island of Mindanao on January 27, 2014.

The Philippine military has killed 37 militants from a splinter group that seeks to scupper a peace deal between the government and the leading rebel organization, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), in the country’s restive south.

In a statement on Wednesday, President Benigno Aquino said that the two-day offensive aimed to “seriously degrade” the possibility for breakaway rebel group Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) to disturb the settlement with MILF.

MILF and Manila concluded negotiations to establish an autonomous Muslim region on the island of Mindanao on Saturday. BIFF and several other rebel factions claim that MILF has agreed on too many compromises, and have vowed to keep fighting the government.