Philippines offers bounty for Muslim guerrilla

The Philippine government, brushing aside an appeal for a cease-fire with a Muslim rebel group, offered a bounty Wednesday for the capture of a guerrilla commander who officials said has joined forces with al-Qaida-linked militants. The government said it cannot abide by the call of the Organization of the Islamic Conference for a truce with Moro National Liberation Front forces led by Habier Malik, who last week fired mortar rounds on two marine camps and houses on southern Jolo island. The attack has provoked fierce clashes that have killed at least 21 people - including three marines, 17 rebels and a child, and displaced thousands. Philippine troops captured Malik's two camps but failed to get him. Military chief Gen. Hermogenes Esperon offered a 1 million peso (US$21,000; €15,000) bounty for information leading to Malik's capture.