Soldier killed, 5 wounded in ambush in S Philippines

13:12, July 13, 2010      

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A soldier was killed and five others were wounded in an ambush by suspected Muslim rebels in southern Philippines on Tuesday, the military said.

The incident happened in Poona Bayabao town, in Mindanao region 's Lanao del Sur province at 5:30 a.m. when troops on their way to Iligan City to fetch an official of a construction company who will inspect a planned road project in the area were attacked, Major Arnold Gasalatan, spokesperson of the army's 1st Infantry Division told Xinhua by phone, adding another five soldiers were wounded.

Military officials tagged one Commander Delta of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) as behind the ambush.

Gasalatan corrected reports the ambushed troops were on their way to rescue the son of Commission on Elections commissioner Elias Yusoph who was kidnapped by unidentified suspects last month in the nearby central city of Marawi. "Another team was tasked for that (rescue). The ambushed soldiers were just dispatched to fetch the manager of a company planning to build a road here,"Gasalatan said, adding troops are now sent to pursue the suspects in Tuesday's attack.

The MILF has been fighting government troops for decades to establish a self-rule Muslim state in the south of the predominantly Catholic country. Peace talks between the government and the MILF remain stalled since August 2008 following the aborted signing of the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain.

However, efforts are being undertaken by both sides to revive the talks. A final peace deal with the government will touch the issues of autonomy and the civil settlement of the rebel group's 11,800-strong guerrilla fighters.

Source: Xinhua


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