Thursday, November 25, 2010

Moro rebels attack army post in Basilan

A member of the Philippine Navy's Seal in Basilan province in the southern Philippines. (Mindanao Examiner Photo, File)

BASILAN, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Nov. 25, 2010) – Suspected Moro rebels attacked Thursday a military post in the southern Philippine province of Basilan, officials said.

Officials said Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebels led by Pasil Bajali opened fire on the post in the village of Sukaten in Sumisip town triggering a firefight, but left no casualties on either side.

“About 20 suspected MILF rebels under Pasil Bajali harassed the Sukaten detachment,” said Colonel Nicanor Dolojan, commander of army forces in Basilan, one of five provinces under the Muslim autonomous region.

But other reports in the province claimed several soldiers and civilians were wounded in the attack which coincided with the Basilan peace and order council meeting and the celebration of the week of peace in Mindanao where advocates held rallies across the restive region to campaign for peace.

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front said it received no reports from its commanders about the fighting.

“We have no reports about it, but there are many armed groups in Basilan not only the MILF. It could be other groups not us,” said Von Al-Haq, a spokesman for the Moro Islamic Liberation Front which is fighting for self-determination in the troubled region.

Peace talks between Manila and the rebel group was suspended after President Gloria Arroyo stepped down in June after 9 years in power, but new Filipino leader Benigno Aquino vowed to resume the negotiations in an effort to end decades of bloody fighting in Mindanao.

Rebel leaders have repeatedly warned of more fighting if peace talks, which Arroyo opened in 2001, fail. Rebel forces had attacked civilian communities after a land deal agreement collapsed in 2008. (Mindanao Examiner)

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