Razlan Rashid and Nani Yusof
Kuala Lumpur and Washington
Echoing comments by the chief Thai negotiator, a MARA Patani spokesman insisted Monday that Barisan Revolusi Nasional rebels were on its negotiating panel in informal peace talks, and these were on-going despite a disagreement last week over a limited ceasefire.
Jeoffrey Maitem, Mark Navales and Richel V. Umel
Weary Philippine troops on Thursday pushed their way closer to enemy-held territory amid the ruins of Marawi, as the military appeared to have seized strategic positions almost four months after Islamic State-linked militants took over this southern city.
Troops allowed BenarNews reporters to join them inside Marawi’s main battle area, giving them permission to observe U.S.-trained Filipino commandos while they moved around the districts of Mapandi and Lilod, two areas controlled by the gunmen from May 23 until recently.
Razlan Rashid and Pimuk Rakkanam
Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok
Thailand and a panel representing rebel groups from the Deep South held technical talks Tuesday in Kuala Lumpur focusing on efforts to bring about a limited ceasefire, but officials from both sides did not say whether they made much progress.
In February, a Thai government delegation and rebel organizations represented through the umbrella panel MARA Pattani agreed to a framework for setting up a ceasefire – officially known as a “safety zone” – in one district in Thailand’s troubled southern border region.
Mark Navales and Jeoffrey Maitem Marawi, Philippines
Philippine troops killed at least five Islamic State-linked militants in a predawn firefight in Marawi on Tuesday, as military officials expressed confidence that they were within days of ending an almost four-month long siege in the southern city.
As the military struggled to clear an estimated few dozen militants, the United States said it had deployed one of its most advanced surveillance drones to help Philippine government forces end the battle in Marawi.
Ethnic tensions between Myanmar’s Muslims and majority Buddhists spilled over into the country’s central Magway division on Sunday, when a mob attacked a Muslim butcher’s home in Taungdwingyi township and then marched on a local mosque before being dispersed by police.
The Buddhist mob, which grew to number about 70 and was later joined by 400 villagers, was led at first by a smaller group of masked young men, a local parliamentarian told the Myanmar Service of Radio Free Asia (RFA), a sister entity of BenarNews.