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Wyoming officials oppose returning war-trophy church bells

Wyoming officials oppose returning war-trophy church bells

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Elected officials from Wyoming say they oppose plans to return church bells seized as war trophies from the Philippines over a century ago.

Two of the Bells of Balangiga are at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne, Wyoming. The third is with the U.S. Air Force in South Korea.

Wyoming's all-Republican congressional delegation says the bells are memorials to American war dead and should not go back to the Philippines.

Delegation staffers say the Defense Department notified Congress over the weekend of the plan to return the bells.

U.S. Army soldiers took the bells after an attack killed 48 American troops in 1901, during the U.S. occupation of the Philippines.

Filipinos revere the bells as symbols of national pride. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has repeatedly called for their return.