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Breakaway Muslim rebels in S. Philippines declare Holy War…for poor not god

DATU SAUDI AMPATUAN, Philippines, Aug. 8 (Xinhua) — Breakaway members of Muslim rebels declared Jihad in Mindanao against government security forces Wednesday as fierce battle on the ground getting worst, a rebel spiritual adviser said Wednesday.

Hibiallo Cobais, spiritual adviser of Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) leader Ameril Umbra Kato, told a local radio station, “we are declaring Holy War. That’s what Kato is doing.

“Why we are doing it in the Holy Month of Ramadan? Islam Prophet Mohammed also declared a Jihad in the seventh day of fasting in his time. And what we are doing is related to Islam teachings,” he added.

“Civilians are not our target. We have directive to our forces on the ground to spare the residents, specially the children,” he said.

“I’m not sure when it will end,” he added.

It is reported that around 100 fully armed followers of Commander Randy Karon of the Moro National Liberation Front from the coastal areas of Maguindanao joined the group of Kato in the mountains of Datu Unsay town at around 11:00 p.m. Tuesday.

On the other hand, government security forces staged assault on the enemies, firing howitzers toward members of the rebels positions on Wednesday.

About 26,000 families have been affected by the conflict in the towns of Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Shariff Aguak, Ampatuan, Guindulungan, Datu Unsay and Datu Abdulah Sangki, said Pombaen Kader, assistant secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (DSWD-ARMM) .

Residents from nearby town of Datu Piang, along with their belongings on board motorcycles and passenger vehicles, are moving out for fear of their safety, she said.

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