Six killed in clashes in southern Philippines
Four Muslim rebels, one soldier and one pro-government militiaman were killed in clashes in the southern Philippines, a regional army chief said Wednesday.
Major General Raymundo Ferrer said four Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) guerrillas and one pro-government militiaman were killed Tuesday in fierce fighting in Datu Piang town in Maguindanao province, 960 kilometres south of Manila, reported dpa.
Ferrer said a soldier was also killed Tuesday in a clash with a separate group of MILF rebels in nearby Mamasapano town, also in Maguindanao.
More troops have been dispatched to Maguindanao and nearby areas where MILF have been fighting government troops for more than two months, leaving more than 200 people killed and more than 500,000 displaced.
Clashes between MILF rebels and government troops intensified in August after the Supreme Court stopped a territory deal that would have expanded the existing autonomous Muslim region in Mindanao.
Muslim rebels attacked towns and seized villages in the provinces of North Cotabato, Lanao del Sur, Lanao del Norte and Sarangani in protest of the non-signing of the deal known as the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain.
President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo dissolved the government peace panel negotiating with the MILF and vowed not to resume negotiations until the MILF rebels who attacked towns and villages are brought to justice.