[QODLink]
Asia-Pacific
Philippine troops shell rebel camp
Troops step up offensive against Muslim fighters in the south.
Last Modified: 26 Apr 2007 05:51 GMT
Government forces have vowed to step up attacks after last week's beheadings [Reuters]

Philippine government forces have stepped up an offensive on the southern island of Jolo, shelling a camp thought to be used by the al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf group and a rogue rebel leader.
Local TV images showed a row of army artillery guns firing toward a mountain hide-out, where officials said a local Muslim separatist commander, blamed for recent clashes with government troops, had joined forces with the Abu Sayyaf.
The offensive comes a week after seven Filippino hostages captured by the Abu Sayyaf were beheaded.
 
The decapitated remains of the construction workers, including two teenagers, were delivered to army bases on Jolo.
 
The situation on Jolo, scene of years of clashes between the government and Abu Sayyaf, recently became more complicated after Habier Malik, a commander with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), turned his guns on troops despite a 1996 peace agreement.
 
The military responded by capturing two of Malik's camps and scattering his 300-400 armed followers, who officials said took shelter with remaining Abu Sayyaf fighters.
 
The MNLF, one of three rebel groups in the country, signed a peace deal with the Philippine government in 1996.
 
Malik and the MNLF had been helping government troops and their US advisers flush out members of the Abu Sayyaf and regional terror network Jemaah Islamiah from Jolo's forests.
 
The military, which had already launched airstrikes against Malik, triggering mass evacuations and criticism from Muslim nations, vowed to step up its offensive against the Abu Sayyaf.
 
But analysts fear that the military's fierce campaign against the MNLF could disrupt local support for its campaign against the Abu Sayyaf and bury any hope of salvaging the 1996 peace deal.
 
It could also foster increased cooperation between the MNLF and the Abu Sayyaf, they say.
Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Muslim volunteers face questioning and threat of arrest, while aid has been disrupted or blocked, charities say.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
ISIL combatants seeking an 'exit strategy' from Mideast conflict need positive reinforcement back home, analysts say.
European nation hit by a wave of Islamophobia as many young fighters join ISIL in Syria and Iraq.
Featured
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Since she was 16-years-old, Scottish Nationalist Party's Sturgeon has strove for independence from the UK.
Armed group's ransom success with German hostages marks a re-emergence, as authorities investigate ISIL links.
Western nations are moving into the resource-rich country after decades of disinterest, challenging China's interests.