Cost of war: Suspended classes, packed evacuation centers

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Cost of war: Suspended classes, packed evacuation centers

The military offensive against the breakaway Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) has affected 15 towns in Maguindanao province and caused the suspension of classes in these areas. Latest government data show that at least 63 schools have been affected by the conflict with 22 abandoned due to evacuations. A number of them have resorted to class suspensions as the school year draws to a close. The offensive, which forced at least 125,000 to flee their homes, was launched on February 25 following President Benigno Aquino III’s order for the military to run after the BIFF, suspected of coddling terrorist Abdul Basit Usman, who escaped a police strike in Mamasapano on January 25. The Mamasapano attack killed top terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir but at the cost of the lives of 44 cops, 5 civilians and 18 Moro rebels. It also caused the worst crisis for the Aquino government.

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