Fighting erupted Apr. 8 when the army began an offensive to dislodge rebels from five towns in Mindanao’s Lanao del Norte province. Some 100,000 people have fled the area. On nearby Basilan island, a rebel group known as Abu Sayyaf has been holding dozens of hostages for almost a month, and on Apr. 17 said they would kidnap and kill Americans in the future if the U.S. doesn’t release the men convicted of the World Trade Center bombing in New York.