Philippines clashes break truce

Clashes have erupted between government troops and Muslim separatist fighters in the southern Philippines, breaking a two year-old truce just weeks before possible peace talks.

    Fighting has spread to villages

    Four separatist fighters were killed and three pro-government militiamen were wounded in the fighting around Mamasapano town on Mindanao island, on Wednesday, which the military alleged was sparked by a Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) guerrilla attack on an army outpost.

    The fighting shattered a two-year-old truce that was being observed by more than 60 international military monitors from Brunei and Malaysia.

    MILF spokesman Eid Kabalu blamed the military for starting the violence, adding that fighting had spread to several nearby villages.
     
    "Fighting is still raging at least in two villages now, Tuca and Lupok, and we are awaiting reports from our commanders in the field on the extent of the battle. Troops attacked our positions in Mamasapano town," Kabalu said.

    The military said fighting was triggered when 30-40 members of the MILF attacked a residential area and three army detachments.

    Casualties

    Regional military spokesman Colonel Franklin del Prado said rebel forces attacked a military post in Tuca village without provocation before dawn.

    Alexander Yano (2-L) says the
    ceasefire group will intervene

    "We still don't have reports of casualties and fighting is going on," he said.

    Brigadier General Alexander Yano, chairman of a joint committee overseeing the ceasefire, said committee members along with representatives of the MILF were proceeding to the area to look into the incident.

    "We will let the (ceasefire committee) handle the matter first," Yano said.

    However, he added that the military was checking into reports that the MILF was massing its forces in the area.

    Manila hopes to start peace talks with the MILF after the Muslim month of Ramadan ends later this month.

    Malaysia has agreed to host the talks.

    SOURCE: AFP


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    Why America's Russia hysteria is dangerous

    Why America's Russia hysteria is dangerous

    The US exaggerating and obsessing about foreign threats seems quite similar to what is happening in Russia.

    Heron Gate mass eviction: 'We never expected this in Canada'

    Hundreds face mass eviction in Canada's capital

    About 150 homes in one of Ottawa's most diverse and affordable communities are expected to be torn down in coming months