COTABATO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / June 8, 2009) – Philippine soldiers have captured two Muslim rebel camps in the strife-torn province of Maguindanao where security forces are battling separatist guerrillas, the military said on Monday.
The fighting in the town of Guindulungan also killed more than 30 rebels since last week, but the MILF quickly denied the military reports and said it was all propaganda.
“There is fighting alright, but there is no truth to that reports. Its military propaganda,” Eid Kabalu, a senior MILF leader, told the Mindanao Examiner.
He said only 9 rebels were wounded in the fighting since Friday and that MILF forces killed and wounded dozens of army soldiers in fierce clashes that also destroyed two armored vehicles.
The military over the weekend claimed to have captured a rebel base in the town’s hinterlands where 30 guerrillas were allegedly killed.
Kabalu said the MILF is holding back its offensive because his group is still hoping to resume peace talks with Manila. The talks collapsed in August last year after the Supreme Court stopped rebel and government negotiators from signing the Muslim homeland deal, saying, the agreement was unconstitutional.
After the peace talks failed, rebel forces attacked several towns in Mindanao that left dozens of civilians dead and wounded.
The MILF is the country’s largest Muslim rebel group fighting for self-determination in the southern Philippines. (With a report from mark Navales)