Key rebel stronghold left out of Philippines’ Muslim territory

Dozens of communities won approval to join a new Muslim-led territory in the Philippines' south, results showed Thursday, yet the…

Dozens of communities won approval to join a new Muslim-led territory in the Philippines’ south, results showed Thursday, yet the exclusion of a key rebel stronghold raised concerns about the peace process in the restive region.

The results are from the second and final round of a landmark referendum that was the culmination of a decades-long process seeking to halt Muslim separatist violence that has claimed some 150,000 lives since the 1970s.

Voters had already overwhelmingly approved last month the so-called Bangsamoro region, which is centred on the island of Mindanao in the majority Catholic nation’s south.

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