COTABATO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / June 19, 2009) – At least 7 Moro rebels, including their senior commanders, were killed in a firefight with government soldiers in the southern Philippines, officials said.
Officials said the fighting broke out after Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebels under Wahid Tandok attacked an army patrol base in the village of Macasampen in Maguindanao’s Guindulungan town.
Colonel Jonathan Ponce, a spokesman for the 6th Infantry Division, said troops repulsed the attack.
“The firefight lasted about 13 minutes and seven enemies were killed, among them top commanders of the MILF’s 105th Base Command,” Ponce told the Mindanao Examiner.
Ponce said there were no military casualties. He did not identify any of the slain rebels or their leaders. There was no immediate statement from the MILF.
The army last week said some 100 rebels were killed in fighting in the restive Mindanao region, but this was denied by the MILF, the country’s largest Muslim rebel group waging a secessionist war the past three decades.
President Gloria Arroyo opened up peace talks with the MILF in 2002, but the negotiations collapsed in August last after the failed signing of the Muslim homeland deal. (Mindanao Examiner)