MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Philippine government will work with the largest Muslim rebel group with which it signed a peace deal last month to curb an alarming number of kidnappings in the south.

Government negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer said Sunday that Philippine security officials and Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebels will meet this week to renew an agreement that allows the insurgents to help Filipino troops capture kidnappers and other outlaws. Despite the accord, which was forged in mid-2000, kidnappings have spiked, with nearly 100 cases recorded in the last three years.

The government signed a comprehensive autonomy deal with the Moro rebel group last month to end years of fighting in the south, but other armed Islamic groups like the brutal Abu Sayyaf continue to threaten attacks and carry out kidnappings for ransom.

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