Monday, June 22, 2009

14 rebels killed, 22 wounded in fighting in Southern Philippines

An undated photo of a convoy of Philippine and US soldiers in Sulu province. The military says four Abu Sayyaf gunmen are killed in fighting with soldiers in Parang town on Sunday, June 21, 2009. (Mindanao Examiner Photo)

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / June 22, 2009) – At least 14 rebels were killed and 22 other wounded in separate clashes with government forces in the southern Philippines, officials said Monday.

Officials said four Abu Sayyaf gunmen were killed and two marines wounded in fierce clashes over the weekend in the village of Paugan in Sulu’s Parang town.

“As a result of the fighting, two soldiers were wounded and four enemies killed in Parang town. Their bodies were recovered by soldiers,” Army First Lieutenant Steffani Cacho, a spokeswoman for the Western Mindanao Command, told the Mindanao Examiner.

At least 10 Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters were also slain in clashes Saturday in Bialong village in Maguindanao’s Mamasapano town in the troubled Muslim autonomous region in Mindanao.

Army Colonel Jonathan Ponce, a spokesman for the 6th Infantry Division, said the fighting left 10 rebels dead and 20 more wounded.

“Elements of the 64th Infantry Battalion encountered a group of rogue MILF rebels numbering about 80 that resulted to killing of ten gunmen and 20 more wounded,” he said, adding that only three bodies were recovered by troops.

Ponce said there were no military casualties.

The military said more than 100 MILF and Abu Sayyaf gunmen were killed in fighting in Sulu and Mindanao in recent months, but many of those were intelligence reports and could not be independently confirmed.

The MILF also claimed to have killed dozens of soldiers; however, most of these claims had been denied by the military. Both groups accused each other of black propaganda. (Mindanao Examiner)

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