Evacuees navigate their way through a cloud of anti-malarial chemicals in Pikit’s largest evacuation center at the Buisan Warehouse, southern Philippines. More than 40,000 people, most of them Muslim, fled to Pikit town to escape heavy fighting between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) during February 2003.  Over the last 30 years, the MILF has led an armed rebellion to establish an independent Islamic state on the southern island of Mindanao.  Muslims make up 8 percent of the Philippines' national population.  Many of them live in poverty and have little access to fertile agricultural lands and political power.

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