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Rebel infighting leaves 30 dead

Hundreds flee bloody clash between two groups reporter, Manila

February 4, 2013

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At least 30 people were reported killed in the southern town of Patikun, Sulu province following armed clashes on Sunday between a Moro insurgent group and al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf, an Islamic separatist organization.

Seven people were reportedly beheaded during the violence which prompted 500 villagers to flee the area.

Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) sources said clashes began following a “misunderstanding” when the group tried to rescue a journalist of the Saudi, pan-Arab news network Al-Arabiya after two of his colleagues were released by Abu Sayyaf on Saturday.

Ramil Vela and Rolando Letrero walked free on Jolo Island after being held captive in the jungle for eight months.

But the man who hired them, Baker Atyani, a Jordanian journalist who famously interviewed Osama Bin Laden, is yet to be released.

The three were captured in June after entering Abu Sayyaf territory in Sulu in an attempt to gain an interview with the Islamic insurgents.

The MNLF, a Moro rebel group which signed a peace agreement with the government in 1997, has reportedly tried to broker a deal with Abu Sayyaf in a bid to secure Atyani’s release.

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