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Thursday, 22 November, 2001, 12:07 GMT
Army hunts for Philippines governor
Soldiers unloading ammunition
Reinforcements are being rushed to Zamboanga city
The Philippines military has launched fresh attacks on suspected hide-outs of supporters of renegade governor Nur Misuari.

More than 100 people have been killed in four days of fighting on the southern Philippine island of Jolo where the army are focusing their hunt for the former rebel leader.

A court on Thursday ordered the arrest of Mr Misuari after the government filed charges of rebellion against him.

Guards supervise distribution of election ballot papers
Ballot papers arrive ahead of next week's election
The authorities say he launched an armed revolt on the island of Jolo to stop elections for his position as governor of the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) - he is not standing after being dropped by his party.

However, the military have been unable to find Mr Misuari.

Malaysian link

Chief of staff, General Diomedio Villanueva, said on Thursday an intelligence report had suggested he had tried to escape by sea to the neighbouring Malaysian state of Sabah.

Philippines ARMM governor Nur Misuari
Nur Misuari was dropped as MNLF leader earlier this year
A Malaysian military spokesman later "categorically" denied Mr Misuari was in Sabah.

Other reports have suggested Mr Misuari is in Jolo with his armed supporters, or is hiding among the Abu Sayyaf Islamic separatist group, also on Jolo.

The former Muslim rebel group, the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), which dropped Mr Misuari as its leader earlier this year, has denied it was behind Monday's attacks on army outposts which started the current round of fighting.

But according to local television reports, the MNLF has admitted some of its members may be involved.

Zamboanga stand-off

The military has sent reinforcements to Zamboanga city on Mindanao where a stand-off is developing with a group of armed Misuari supporters.

MNLF fighter
Armed Misuari supporters say they will defend themselves
The gunmen are refusing to leave the city's Cabatangan government complex, a regional administrative centre for the ARMM.

Reports say five truckloads of heavily armed soldiers ring the area on the outskirts of the city.

Army spokesman Brigadier General Edilberto Adan said troops were trying to persuading them to leave the complex "so that there won't be any bloody confrontation".

But a supporter of Mr Misuari said the gunmen would "be forced to defend themselves if the army tries to evict them".

The BBC's Jonathan Head
"Thousands of troops are on high alert"
See also:

21 Nov 01 | Asia-Pacific
In pictures: Philippines uprising
21 Nov 01 | Asia-Pacific
'Over 100' dead in Philippines uprising
20 Nov 01 | Asia-Pacific
Arroyo suspends renegade governor
19 Nov 01 | Asia-Pacific
Philippines peace deal broken
10 Oct 01 | Asia-Pacific
US bolsters Manila's rebel crackdown
11 Jun 01 | Asia-Pacific
Analysis: Negotiating with the Abu Sayyaf
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