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Muslim Rebels in Philippines Kill 27 Cops: Officials

MANILA — At least 30 people were killed in heavy fighting between police and Muslim rebels in the Philippines on Sunday, military and local officials said.

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) reached a peace agreement with the government in March 2014, ending 45 years of conflict in which 120,000 people were killed and 2 million displaced.

Under the deal, the Moro rebels were to surrender their weapons and disband after the government had set up a new autonomous government in the south and granted the Muslim minority wider economic and political power.

But Sunday's clashes, which lasted nearly 12 hours near Mamasapano town, Maguindanao, are likely to be a major setback in the pact's implementation.

Local officials in Mamasapano said 27 police officers and five rebels were killed. Seven more police officers were unaccounted for and a further eight captured by Muslim rebels.

Police had wanted to arrest Zulkifli bin Hir, a Malaysian bomb expert who has a $5 million bounty on his head from the U.S. State Department, an army spokesman said.

- Reuters