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Ten Philippine Muslim rebels surrender: military

world Updated: Feb 04, 2009 02:00 IST

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Ten Muslim separatist rebels under the command of a guerrilla leader wanted for leading attacks on towns and villages in the southern Philippines have surrendered, the military said on Tuesday.

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels turned over several high-powered firearms when they surrendered on Monday, including rocket-propelled grenade launchers and an anti-tank weapon, the military said.

The men, whose identities were withheld for security reasons, belonged to the MILF unit controlled by Abdulrahman Macapaar, also known as Commander Bravo.

Macapaar and another senior MILF leader, Ameril Umbrakato, organised a wave of attacks across Mindanao island in August after a court blocked a proposed land deal that would have given the rebels control of an autonomous state.

The attacks led to heavy military reprisals. The subsequent fighting left dozens dead and displaced an estimated 500,000 people.

Peace talks were subsequently suspended, and the MILF leadership has repeatedly rejected any overtures from the government to return to the negotiating table.

The military said those who surrendered claimed "there is no future for the fight that Bravo and other lawless MILF groups are waging against the government".

The Brussels-based International Crisis Group, which tracks conflicts worldwide, last year said neither the MILF nor the military had enough resources for a sustained armed campaign.