COTABATO, Philippines (AP) -- Muslim guerrillas have returned to the Philippine government at least 16 assault firearms of police anti-terror commandos who were killed in what the insurgents say was a "misencounter" that has stalled a new peace deal.
Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebel Rasid Ladiasan says the rebel handover of the firearms to government officials Wednesday is an act to show that the insurgents "want peace." Another rifle from the slain policemen will be handed back by the rebels later.
The commandos reportedly killed one of Southeast Asia's most wanted terror suspects, Malaysian Zulkifli bin Hir, also known as Marwan, in a Jan. 25 raid in marshy outskirts of southern Mamasapano town. But as they withdrew, the policemen got entangled in gunbattles with Muslim rebels in the area that killed 44 commandos.