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Philippine guerrilla leader charged with rebellion

October 3, 2013

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Philippine police on Thursday filed a complaint of rebellion and violation of international humanitarian law against Muslim guerrilla leader Nur Misuari in connection with a deadly three-week standoff between government troops and insurgents who held scores of people hostage.

More than 200 people were killed and nearly 10,000 houses were burned in the fighting that followed the rebel attempt to storm Zamboanga city hall in the southern Philippines on Sept. 9.

Regional state prosecutor Peter Medalle said authorities filed the complaint against Misuari and some 80 of his followers. So far, more than 200 rebels have been charged.

Misuari is believed to be hiding in the southern Philippines. He is the leader of a faction of the Moro National Liberation Front, which signed a 1996 peace agreement then accused the Philippine government of failing to honor it.

The rebel group, which Misuari founded in the early 1970s to fight for minority Muslim self-rule in the predominantly Roman Catholic nation, has been overshadowed by a bigger rival group in negotiations with the government to expand an autonomous Muslim region.

Misuari’s armed followers led a similar attack in 2001, during which they also seized civilians hostage. He was then charged with rebellion, escaped to neighboring Malaysia but was arrested and extradited to the Philippines. He later posted bail and was acquitted for lack of evidence.

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