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Philippines says peace pact with Muslim rebels should hold despite clashes

Published on Apr 16, 2014 12:49 PM

MANILA (AFP) - The Philippines said on Wednesday it was confident a peace deal with the country's largest Muslim rebel group would hold despite fresh clashes that left four of its members dead.

The fighting took place just two weeks after the 10,000-member Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) signed a peace deal to end their decades-old rebellion that had claimed tens of thousands of lives.

MILF fighters helped a group of Islamic extremists fighting government forces on Friday, but did so without their top leadership's permission, President Benigno Aquino's top peace adviser Teresita Deles said.

Two soldiers and 18 gunmen were slain in the clashes on the remote southern island of Basilan, the military said, while the MILF acknowledged four of its members were among those killed.

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