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Muslim group promises protection for Marawi

MANILA (AsiaNews): The largest resistance group in Mindanao, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, has promised to provide security for a resettlement programme organised by the Church for the hundreds of thousands of people displaced by the siege of the city of Marawi.
The Church initiative dubbed The Marawi Rehabilitation Programme will be carried out in 13 coastal communities in the area of the now devastated only Islamic majority city in The Philippines.
The programme will also help communities of the State University of Mindanao and the provisional cathedral of Balo-I, which has been consecrated since St. Mary’s was left a semi-ruin on the day that the Maute Group declared itself to be in control of the city.
“We will do what we do best—community engagements and opportunities for healing and reconciliation,” Bishop Edwin de la Peña said.
The leader of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, told the bishop that his rehabilitation programme would receive his full support and the front will provide the necessary security to ensure that plans can be carried out in safety.
The front has a long history of fighting for a separate Muslim homeland with autonomy from the central government in Manila, but backed the government in its fight to liberate Marawi and was involved in official peace talks until the president, Rodrigo Duterte, called them off.
In his turn, the bishop called on the Christian communities in the area to pitch in and do everything possible for the over 400,000 people who have been displaced from their homes.

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