Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Police Patrol Ambush In Zamboanga Town

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Jan. 30, 2008) – Suspected Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebels attacked Wednesday a Philippine police patrol, wounding four, on a farming village in the southern province of Zamboanga del Norte, officials said.

Officials said the attacked occurred before dawn near a village called Lakiki in Sibuco town, a known MILF stronghold west of Mindanao island. The attack on police forces sparked a running gun battle in the area.

Troops from the Army’s 44th Infantry Battalion on a nearby village were sent to pursue the attackers, but gunmen split into smaller groups and fled to the hinterlands.

“We received reports that several gunmen were wounded in the fighting and troops were sent to pursue the attackers,” Major Eugene Batara, a regional army spokesman, told the Mindanao Examiner.

No group claimed responsibility for the attack, but the local police blamed the MILF for the ambush. The motive of the attack is still unknown, but rebels have previously assaulted security forces patrolling near their camps.

The MILF, which has been fighting the government for almost four decades for a separate Muslim homeland in Mindanao, is currently negotiating peace with Manila. (With a report from Ely Dumaboc)

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