Posted: Oct 13, 2012 1:33 AM
Updated: Oct 13, 2012 1:34 AM
MANILA, Philippines (AP) Hunted by U.S.-backed Filipino troops in 2005, Abu Sayyaf chieftain Khadaffy Janjalani and other al-Qaida-linked militants sought refuge in the mountainous stronghold of the largest Muslim rebel group in the southern Philippines.
But the rebels turned them away. They were afraid that harboring extremists would scuttle their peace talks with the government. The following year, Janjalani was killed by troops in another jungle area.
The rebels' rejection of Janjalani shows the potential of harnessing the main Moro insurgents in preventing their strongholds from serving as one of the last remaining refuges of al-Qaida-affiliated militants.
Philippine officials hope the tentative peace deal to be signed with the rebels on Monday will turn the 11,000-strong Moro Islamic Liberation Front into a formidable force against the Abu Sayyaf and other radicals.