Conflict & Justice

More death follows rare talks with Philippines president and Islamic rebels


A Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebel aims his .50 calibre Barret sniper rifle during a drill at camp Rajamuda in north Cotabato in Mindanao island September 22, 2009.



Just days ago, the Philippines' president sat down face-to-face for the first time with the leader of the nation's toughest Islamic insurgency in a Tokyo hotel.

The closed-door talks were pitched by the government as a bold step towards ending a separatist conflict that has dragged on three decades and left 120,000 dead.

But fighting has again erupted in regions rife with Moro Islamic Liberation Front guerillas. According to Agence France Presse, six are dead and hundreds have fled gunfire-and-mortar battles.

Does this mark the presidential chat -- called a "stab in the back" by one politician -- as a failure? Not quite. The fighting is between guerilla units at odds.

As of now, it's unclear whether some units are angry about the movement's leader bowing to peace talks.

But Philippine outlet ABS-CBN News reports that the movement is ready to kick out "rogue" rebels who disagree with its leadership.