The fighting continues.
Two Muslim rebels killed in clash in southern Philippines: military
Two Muslim secessionist rebels were killed in a clash with government security forces in the southern Philippines, an army commander said Monday. Colonel Danilo Garcia said the fighting erupted Sunday when Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels entered a village in Datu Piang town in Maguindanao province, 930 kilometres south of Manila, without coordinating with pro-government militiamen there.
Garcia said the rebels violated a provision of a three-year-old ceasefire agreement between the MILF and the Philippine government, while the two sides are engaged inpeace negotiations.
"We filed a protest with our ceasefire committee," he said.
But guerrilla spokesman Eid Kabalu said it was actually the militiamen who attacked MILF forces while on their way back to their families in the village of Buayan.
Kabalu also belied the claim of the military that two MILF rebels were killed in the fighting. He, however, admitted that two guerrillas were wounded in the clash.
"It was the (pro-govenrment) militiamen who violated the ceasefire agreement, not us," he said. "We don't need to coordinate with the military when we enter Buayan because their (MILF guerrillas) families live there."
Peace talks between the MILF and the government have been stalled since September last year over disagreement on the scope of the territory to be included in a proposed Muslim homeland in the southern region of Mindanao.
Both sides, however, have agreed to resume the negotiations within the month.
The MILF has been fighting for an independent Islamic state in Mindanao since 1978.