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Philippine bishop seeks Holy Week cease-fire in southern province

April 16,2014: In the Philippines, the bishop in conflict-ridden Basilan province called for a cease-fire on Tuesday(April 15), as clashes between government troops and Abu Sayyaf rebels entered its fourth day. "I call on our brother Muslims to please respect our observance of the Holy Week," Bishop Martin Jumoad of Isabela said in a radio broadcast. Bishop Jumoad's appeal followed clashes that began in the town of Tipo-Tipo April 11, which claimed the lives of at least 20 people, mostly Abu Sayyaf Islamic militant fighters, and injured at least 45 others. "Just as we respect the Ramadan, I hope also Muslims will respect the Holy Week," said Bishop Jumoad . He said that despite the fighting, Catholics will continue "to profess our faith because we trust that God will provide our security. I continue to challenge our Catholic faithful, particularly in areas where there is danger, to still profess our faith," Bishop Jumoad added.
Gen. Emmanuel Bautista, armed forces chief of staff, said there will be no letup in government operations against the rebels even during the observance of Holy Week.
"We will continue to run after the Abu Sayyaf , Bautista told reporters in Zamboanga after visiting wounded soldiers in a military hospital on Tuesday.(April 15.) The fighting in Tipo-Tipo has already resulted in the evacuation of some 1,500 people.
Laisa Alamia, executive secretary of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, said the villages of Silangkong and Baguindan in Tipo-Tipo have turned into "ghost towns."
Source: AsiaNews


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