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Philippine Muslim Separatist Commander Surrenders


The Philippine military says a senior Muslim rebel leader has surrendered in the southern Philippines.

The military said Monday that Mabaning Andamun Lucsadato is the most senior member of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front to surrender to the government.

Military officials said Lucsadato and 20 men under his command turned themselves over to government troops in Lanao del Norte province on the island of Mindanao. The rebels also reportedly turned over a cache of small arms, including automatic rifles and rocket launchers.

Philippine authorities said Lucsadato conducted operations with MILF commander Abdullah Macapaar, also known as "Bravo." Commander Bravo is one of three rogue commanders who resumed attacks last August after peace talks between MILF and the government broke down.

In separate news, Philippine authorities said they suspect rogue factions of the rebel Moro Islamic Liberation Front were behind two bombings on Monday in the southern Philippines.

At least four people were injured in a bus terminal blast in North Cotabato province.

Earlier Monday, two bombs exploded on a bridge near a major hydroelectric dam in Iligay City. No injuries were reported, but the bridge that links the area of other provinces on Mindanao was impassable.

MILF officials denied their group was involved in either attack.

The Philippine government dropped its demand for the arrest of Bravo and two other rogue commanders as a precondition for resuming peace talks. A peace deal broke down last year after the Supreme Court ruled an autonomy agreement was illegal.

MILF and other Muslim rebel groups have fought for more than 40 years for a separate homeland in the mostly Christian country. More than 120,000 people have died in the conflict.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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