Conflict & Justice

Islamic rebels in Philippines aid search for kidnapped Australian man


Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels in the Philippines patrol inside their base at Camp Darapan in the southern Philippines.



The hunt for a 53-year-old Australian man, likely kidnapped by Islamic rebels, has been joined by unlikely search party: other Islamic rebels.

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front, a well-armed rebel group considered terrorists by the Philippines government and the U.S., typically wouldn't get entangled in a manhunt for some kidnapped Australian.

But times are changing. The front is currently playing nice with the U.S.-backed Philippines government and angling for a peace deal. 

Helping find Rodney Dowell, the Australian kidnapped near the home he shares with his Filipina wife, is a way to generate goodwill.

According to the AFP, Dowell may have been snatched up by Abu Sayyaf, an Islamic militia known for extortion schemes and ties to al-Qaeda.

If the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (which has also maintained al-Qaeda ties) finds and delivers Dowell, this could very well help soften their image amidst crucial peace talks. Many would welcome this outcome, as their liberation war has led to more than 120,000 deaths.