200 Muslim rebels arrive in Manila to sign pact
MANILA, Philippines — About 200 Muslim rebels led by their elusive chief arrived in the Philippine capital on Sunday for the signing of a preliminary peace pact aimed at ending one of Asia's longest-running insurgencies.
The Moro Islamic Liberation Front's decades-long rebellion has killed tens of thousands of people and held back progress in the south, where Muslims make up a sizable minority. Government and rebel negotiators forged the framework peace agreement Oct. 7 in Malaysia after 15 years of tough negotiations.
The pact's signing on Monday will be witnessed by President Benigno Aquino III, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and rebel chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, who will set foot for the first time in Manila's Malacanang presidential palace, where officials have prepared a red-carpet welcome.
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