14 CHRISTIAN VILLAGERS KILLED IN MILF RAID  

Zamboanga City, Feb. 20. 2003 (Al Jacinto, PHNO Mindanao Bureau) - Fifty heavily armed members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) raided the town of Kalawit last night and attacked houses with machineguns and grenades, killing 14 Christian civilians and wounding four others, Army spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Mayoralgo de la Cruz said. Three other residents are missing.

The raiders also set fire to 10 houses and a community center, de la Cruz said.

Kalawit is a town in Zamboanga del Norte, some 750 kilometers (465 miles) south of Manila.

The attack came after last week's military offensive against the MILF in Maguindanao and North Cotabato claimed nearly 200 lives and displaced tens of thousands of civilians.

The raiders are "MILF members operating in the Kalawit area," de la Cruz said.

"We condemn this attack against innocent civilians," said Lieutenant General Narciso Abaya, the southern Philippines military chief.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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