Philippine blast injures civilians and troops

Soldiers, residents and reporters hit by improvised device left by rebels fighting government forces in Mindanao.

    The government launched a military operation against rebels a week ago [AFP]
    The government launched a military operation against rebels a week ago [AFP]

    Six civilians and soldiers have been injured when an improvised explosive device was detonated by Phillipines rebels fighting government forces, the military has said.

    A reporter and cameraman at ABC-5, a major Philippine TV broadcaster, were among those hurt in the blast on Saturday in Mindanao's Saudi Ampatuan town, said Colonel Edgardo Gonzales.

    "This morning... as our soldiers were on a security patrol, they were hit by an IED. By coincidence the civilians and the TV crew were there," Gonzales told AFP news agency.

    The two journalists were named by ABC-5 as Adrian Bulatao and Jeff Caparas.

    The blast comes after days of fighting between government forces and members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), a breakaway Muslim rebel group opposed to peace talks with the main Muslim organisation.

    The military has said that 52 rebels and one soldier had been killed since the government launched an offensive against the BIFF almost a week ago.

    The military operation was launched after the government successfully concluded peace talks with the main Muslim rebel group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in order to end decades of fighting that has claimed tens of thousands of lives.

    The BIFF is opposed to the talks and has previously launched attacks such as bombings in order to derail the peace process.

    SOURCE: AFP


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