Thursday, September 17, 2009

Troops attack MILF camp in Zamboanga province

DIPOLOG CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / September 17, 2009) – Government troops attacked an encampment of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebels in the southern Philippines breaking a fragile truce ahead of a schedule peace talks next month.

The MILF accused the Army’s 44th Infantry Battalion of attacking its forces without provocation in the town of Sirawai in Zamboanga del Norte province.
Troops fired cannons and mortars toward the rebel encampment in the village of Sipakit, the MILF said on Thursday.

“Several rounds of 105mm cannons and 81mm mortars had been fired by Armed Forces of the Philippines troops towards the positions of the MILF fighters which are under the 113th Base Command of Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces,” the rebel group said.

It said the attack lasted almost an hour. There were no reports of rebel casualties.

”MILF forces reside and farm in this area which is native to them. The MILF forces were not doing anything when they were attacked,” it said.

The military’s Western Mindanao Command said it has no report about the fighting.

“We have no reports about the attack,” Major Ramon David Hontiveros, a regional military spokesman, told the Mindanao Examiner.

The attack came a day after rebel and government peace negotiators signed an agreement for the formation of the International Contact Group, which would open the way for the participation of countries, particularly from the European Union and the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), in the peace process.

Peace talks are expected to resume in October after the holy month of Ramadan. (Mindanao Examiner)

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