COTABATO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Mar. 31, 2009) – At least 11 Moro rebels and a government soldier were killed in fierce clashes early Tuesday in the southern Philippines, officials said.
Officials said the fighting between Scout Rangers and Moro Islamic Liberation Front erupted in the village of Dado in North Cotabato’s Alamada town at around 4.15 a.m.
“Fighting lasted more than an hour that also left one soldier dead and three others wounded.” said Lt. Col. Jonathan Ponce, a spokesman for the Army’s 6th Infantry Division.
Ponce said patrolling troops spotted the rebels and a firefight ensued. He said the rebels were involved in previous attacks on military posts in the town.
Ponce earlier said four MILF rebels were slain in the clashes, but corrected this later in the day. “Eleven rebels were killed in the clashes,” he said, adding, troops recovered six bodies and were still searching for five more which had been dragged away by fleeing rebels.
He said troops also recovered four anti-tank rockets, combat packs and rifle munitions left by retreating rebels in the village.
The MILF said it was verifying the reports about the fighting. “We received no reports about fighting in the area. We are still checking this report,” said Eid Kabalu, a senior MILF leader.
Fighting was also reported on Monday in Basilan province, south of Zamboanga City, where a soldier was killed and two more wounded in Sumisip town.
The MILF has been fighting the past decades for the establishment of a separate Muslim homeland. (Mindanao Examiner)