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Rebels surrender to Philippine authority
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Thirty-one guerrilla soldiers, who are under the government's most wanted rebel commander of the Muslim separatist group Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), have surrendered to the Philippine authority, Philippine media reported Thursday.

The news network ABS-CBN News said the guerrilla soldiers were presented by the military to the media in southern city of Iligan in Lanao del Norte province, where 36 people, mostly civilians, were killed in a bloody rebel attack on Monday.

The surrendered soldiers said they were under Commander Abdullah Macapaar, known as Commander Bravo. The government blamed Commander Bravo for masterminding the attack in Lanao del Norte and had placed 10 million pesos (US$220,000) bounty on his head.

The surrendered soldiers said that they chose to leave Bravo's group because it was not in their agreement to kill innocent civilians.

Philippine military officials said they will place the surrendered rebels under protective custody to see if they are qualified to become state witnesses against Bravo's group.

Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Wednesday ordered security forces to conduct an "unrelenting pursuit" of two rebel commanders involved in recent clashes with government troops.

Alexander Yano, Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, said the military will pursue and take "aggressive action" against the perpetrators of the dastardly acts committed against innocent civilians.

(Xinhua News Agency August 21, 2008)

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