The Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Philippines Government say they are on the path to signing a final peace deal this year. This put would an end to nearly three decades of fighting.
Both sides say they are close to reaching an agreement on what the Muslims call ‘ancestral domain’; land that historically belongs to them on the Island of Mindanao.
However, observers are warning that if an agreement can be reached, it will be very difficult to implement. There are many potential spoilers, the presence of pro-government civilian militias, long running clan wars and the large population of Christian settlers.
In the first of a four part series, Rebecca Henschke takes a look at the root causes of South-East Asia’s longest running civil war in Mindanao.