Philippines bishop urges protection of civilians amid severe conflict

.- A Catholic bishop from the Philippines recently urged the local military and an Islamic separatist group, who are engaged in conflict, to spare civilian lives.

According to the Filipino Bishops Conference (CBCP), Bishop Angelito Lampon of Jolo warned that the latest escalations in the southern region of Mindanao threaten innocent lives which have been made especially vulnerable during the recent bouts of fighting.

The bishop voiced his concern after the military killed six members of the Islamic militant group Abu Sayyaf on Sunday, including the group's leader, Albader Parad.

Parad was charged with orchestrating the abduction of three Red Cross members in Jan. of 2009 as well as ABS-CBN media crew members in June of 2008.

Bishop Lampon fears that Sunday's conflict, which left Parad and five of his men dead, will lead to further retaliation from the separatists against the local militia.“That's why we want to appeal to the humanitarian spirit of the group members to please leave the civilians out of this,” urged the prelate.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines have stated that they are already expecting possible retaliation from Abu Sayyaf to avenge the death of their leader. Bishop Lampon said on Monday that he expects the local military to use every effort possible to protect civilians from harm.


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