Page last updated at 00:56 GMT, Monday, 9 March 2009

In pictures: Mindanao conflict

MILF fighters in a rebel camp in Mindanao

Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) guerrilla fighters want a separate Muslim homeland in the southern Philippines. Since a peace deal with the government collapsed, some have abandoned the ceasefire.

Shelters in Datu Piang, southern Philippines

About 300,000 people have fled their homes since violence intensified and many are living in makeshift tents. These shelters in Datu Piang, in Maguindanao, are crammed into the grounds of a local school.

Displaced people at Datu Piang

After more than six months as internal refugees, many people are feeling the strain, mentally and physically. The old and the very young are the most vulnerable.

Ramla, a teacher, at Datu Piang

Ramla, a teacher, says many of the children who have joined her classes are traumatised by the fighting and destruction they have witnessed. Some find it hard to concentrate and are disruptive.

People waiting for the Red Cross supplies

The displaced often have no means of supporting themselves, after leaving behind their livestock and possessions. Distributions from international agencies, like the Red Cross, are a lifeline.

Unloading supplies from the Red Cross truck

The Red Cross gives a package of essentials to each household. It feeds an average family for about 10 days - but they can only visit each community about once a month.

A displaced person at the side of the road

There are few organised camps. Some of the displaced gather in informal evacuation centres. Others fend for themselves by the roadside.

A priest gives communion at a church in Datu Piang

Datu Piang's small Christian community says relations with Muslims are harmonious. Last August their church was set ablaze. No-one knows why. It may have been an attempt to create communal tension.

Flowers decorate an army checkpoint

The roads through central Mindanao are studded with army checkpoints. Fighting between government forces and the MILF is frequent. But many local people say all they want is peace. (Images/text: Kate Poland/Jill McGivering, BBC News)



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