Asia

Philippine leader rejects emergency power vs extremists

The Philippine president has rejected proposals for him to declare a state of emergency on a violent southern island to be able to more rapidly crush Abu Sayyaf extremists, who killed 15 soldiers this week in the largest single-day combat loss of his government.

President Rodrigo Duterte also announced Wednesday that government troops and police would not enforce a warrant of arrest for prominent Muslim rebel leader Nur Misuari, who leads one of two large Islamic insurgent groups in the country's south, so they could talk.

Duterte says Misuari preferred to meet him in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and replied during a phone call Tuesday that he was ready to meet him anywhere.

While Duterte has pursued talks with two Muslim groups, he has ordered troops to destroy the Abu Sayyaf.