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10 MILF guerrillas slain in clash with Army

by Pesante-USA Monday, Dec. 18, 2006 at 6:44 PM
magsasakapil@hotmal.com 213-241-0906 337 Glendale Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90026

News reports said government security forces and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) guerrillas clashed in a remote village of a Maguindanao town Friday, leaving 10 rebels dead and a soldier wounded, a military spokesman said on Sunday.

10 MILF guerrillas slain in clash with Army



PARANG, Maguindanao -- News reports said government security forces and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) guerrillas clashed in a remote village of a Maguindanao town Friday, leaving 10 rebels dead and a soldier wounded, a military spokesman said on Sunday.

Lieutenant Colonel Julieto Ando of the 6th Infantry Division told the Inquirer that about 100 rebels under commander Maestro Baguindar of the MILF's 105th Command ambushed the convoy of Colonel Danilo Garcia, commander of the 604th Infantry Brigade, when he visited operatives of the 75th Infantry Battalion in Barangay Melib in Rajah Buayan town on December 15.

"The soldiers retaliated by using mortars. Ten rebels were killed in the pursuit operation. The bodies were recovered. Garcia survived unhurt but one civilian and his escort was wounded," Ando said.

"We have filed a protest for the rebels' violation of our ceasefire agreement," he added.

Ando identified the wounded soldier as Technical Sergeant Jose Rebas.

Ando said the rebels also attacked the Bravo Company of the 75th Infantry Battalion, triggering a 30-minute firefight.

On December 14, he said 150 rebels under Commander Sainudin Felmin opened fire on militiamen in Sitio Damabago in the same village.

"This is not about [a] family feud. We doubt if they are really sincere in talking peace with government. They have been attacking our position in previous years. And now they are doing it again," Ando stressed.

"This is something to look into by the MILF's leadership so that it will not happen again. If they say the bottom line here is rido [family feud], many will die. We continue to be in active defense and we support the peace talks. But if they attack us, we would defend ourselves," he added.

Meanwhile, Eid Kabalu, spokesperson for the MILF, confirmed 10 of their troops were killed in the encounter but denied they attacked the convoy of Garcia.

"We did not ambush the military. It was our troops being attacked. It's purely [a] family feud. We did not violate our ceasefire agreement," Kabalu said. He said municipal councilor Buca Badal, militiamen and rebels in the area were involved in the clash.

But Ando insisted the rebels attacked their position. The fighting only subsided when members of the International Monitoring Team and Coordinating Committee on Cessation of Hostilities intervened, said Ando.

The government and MILF have been negotiating a peace agreement for several months, declaring many times to be close to a positive solution. But the peace talks recently bogged down over the MILF's demand to include close to 1,000 villages as part of their proposed homeland without having to go through a referendum.

The government rejected the demand, saying it was against the Constitution. The government said it could only allow 600 pre-dominantly Muslim villages to be included in their proposed homeland.



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