Philippines: Rebel killings of 44 commandos tests peace deal

Peace and Freedom

By Jim Gomez

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Philippine officials asked lawmakers Tuesday not to withdraw their support from a new government peace deal with the country’s largest Muslim rebel group after some insurgents were involved in a clash that killed 44 anti-terror police commandos.

The government’s biggest single-day combat loss in recent memory shocked many and prompted at least two senators to withdraw their backing for a bill that would create a new Muslim autonomous region in the restive south under a peace deal signed last March. Many more lawmakers and influential Roman Catholic bishops defended the deal.

Philippine police commandos load body bags containing the remains of their comrades killed in a clash with Muslim forces, onto a truck in the town of Mamasapano, on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao on January 26, 2015. AFP

The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines condemned the violence, but said it…

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