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Clashes in southern Philippines leave 10 rebels dead, says military

Clashes in southern Philippines leave 10 rebels dead, says military

Clashes left 10 rebels dead in the southern Philippines overnight, just hours after the government scrapped a controversial peace deal with the Muslim guerrillas, the military said yesterday.
Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters ambushed government troops late Thursday in Guindulungan town in strife-torn Mindanao island, said local military spokesman Colonel Julieto Ando.
"During the firefight, five soldiers were wounded and 10 MILF rebels killed," he told Agence France-Presse, adding that two civilians were injured by stray bullets in the gunbattle.
Major Armand Rico, an army official, said the number of soldiers wounded had risen to 12 as the MILF fought the military offensive in their stronghold near Liguasan marsh.
Two attack aircraft bombed and strafed MILF positions near the town of Datu Piang on Thursday, as the rebels fought back with mortar fire, said local army commander Colonel Marlou Salazar.
The MILF attacks came after the Philippine Supreme Court issued a temporary restraining order against signing the peace agreement.
The limited autonomy pact between the government of the mainly Christian nation and the 12,000-strong rebel group aimed to end a 40-year-old conflict that has left more than 120,000 dead and tens of thousands displaced.
President Gloria Arroyo scrapped the deal Thursday after Christians and politicians in Mindanao objected to what they saw as an unconstitutional move to create an independent Muslim state.
Amnesty International said yesterday that political leaders in the southern Philippines have started arming civilians and local militias against further rebel attacks.


Updated : 2020-12-02 12:38 GMT+08:00