There have been several clashes in the Philippine Islands (P.I.) this week between the army and Muslim separatists, the Euro News website reports today (September 14, 2013). The Philippine Islands is the only predominantly Christian nation in all of Asia, as more than 80 percent of its 90 million population is Roman Catholic.
Troops have been fighting the MNLF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front) rebels in the city of Zamboanga and surrounding villages since they launched an attack on September 9. The MNLF -- a small Islamist militant group in the Philippines -- is fighting in an effort to obtain an independent Islamic state in the southern part of the islands, which is called the Moro region.
More than 50 people have died in the violence and around 60,000 have fled their homes.
Visiting a sports center housing those who had been displaced, Philippine president, Benigno Aquino, said he was hopeful the violence would soon end. He said: "These problems of ours are getting smaller. There will still be clashes but the MNLF did not succeed with their scheming and I guarantee that this will subside. We will end this crisis as soon as possible."