By Arieh O'Sullivan


Manila, Philippines

The Philippine Air Force's two aging warplanes dropped bombs in positions of Muslim bandits in the southern province of Zamboanga Sibugay for the second day Tuesday in a bid to flush them out after they killed 35 people, including 18 marines, last week.

The aerial bombardment in Payao, Alicia and Talusan towns killed six bandits while two soldiers were killed in ground operations against some 100 armed bandits who once belonged to the secessionist group Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). About 40 bandits were also wounded in the aerial attacks and three were captured by troops.

The air strikes also forced 10,000 residents to leave their homes and take shelter in makeshift encampments.

The bandits are led by former MILF commander Waning Abdusalam, who was disowned by the group on Monday,

On Thursday, soldiers and policemen serving arrest warrants to Muslim bandits were ambushed in neighboring Basilan province killing 35 troops, police, militias and civilians. Newspapers reported initially that soldiers entered an MILF territory so they attacked the intruders in defense.

The government and the MILF are currently engaged in peace talks in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to end the decades-long insurgency.


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