Filipino cops raid rebel chief’s home

AFP-JIJI

Philippine police on Friday blasted their way into the home of a Muslim leader accused of masterminding a deadly guerrilla attack in a southern city, seizing documents and other items in the dawn raid.

Chief inspector Ariel Huesca said officers had to use explosives to enter the locked residential compound belonging to Nur Misuari on the outskirts of the city of Zamboanga.

“The Philippine National Police were forced to deploy an access charge. No one was arrested,” said Huesca, the police spokesman for the southern region, adding that Misuari was not at the property.

Police have asked prosecutors to bring charges against Misuari and his followers, who fought street battles with police and troops in Zamboanga last month in which more than 200 people died.

Misuari is accused of sending his armed Moro National Liberation Front followers to Zamboanga on Sept. 9 to try to block a proposed peace deal between the government and a rival Muslim rebel group.

The government accused the gunmen of taking civilian hostages and setting fire to more than 10,000 homes. It declared the rebel action crushed Saturday with the release of the last of 195 hostages.

Muslim rebels have been fighting since the 1970s for an independent or autonomous homeland in the south. An estimated 150,000 people have died in the conflict.