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Bishops call for dialogue between Philippine government, Muslim rebels

Catholic World News - September 16, 2013

As the siege of Zamboanga City, the Philippines’ sixth largest, reached its sixth day, regional bishops called upon Muslim rebels and government officials to negotiate.

The rebels of the Moro National Liberation Front have taken over 160 people hostage. Although a priest who was taken hostage last Monday, Father Michael Ufana, has been released, scores of others remain in captivity.

“We are deeply saddened and disturbed by this terrible tragedy to human life and property,” the bishops of Mindanao said in a statement, according to the official Philippines Catholic news agency. “We express our solidarity with all those affected Muslims and Christians alike.”

“We condemn the terror that has been inflicted on an entire city,” the bishops added. “We condemn the inhumane act of using hostages as human shields.”

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