Eleven Muslim separatist guerrillas surrendered to the military in the southern Philippines amid a continuing government crackdown on rebel organisations, the army said on Saturday.
|Philippine President Gloria Arroyo |
has taken a tough stance against
The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) guerrillas gave themselves up along with their firearms near the town of Tipo-Tipo in Basilan island.
The surrender came at a time when President Gloria Arroyo was in the middle of a week-long tour of the southern Mindanao island.
The MILF has been waging a separatist rebellion there for the past 25 years.
Arroyo, who has taken a hard-line approach to the rebels, ordered attacks on them to drive them out of villages they have occupied.
In another development, Philippine police are investigating into the possible involvement of Abu Sayyaf rebels in the beheading of a Christian teenager who went missing in Basilan.
The boy, 18-year-old Ariel Royo, went missing on Friday near the town of Lantawan. Military officials said his body was found later in the day.
Chief Colonel Bonifacio Ramos said the body was decapitated and the head was missing.
“We are not discounting the involvement of the Abu Sayyaf here. We are still investigating and we cannot be conclusive on our suspicion,” Ramos said.
The Abu Sayyaf group is a small armed rebel organisation widely known for kidnapping for ransom local and foreign hostages.
The US and Philippine governments have branded them as a "terrorist" group because they once had links to Osama Bin Laden and the Al Qaida network.