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2 Moro insurgents killed in clash; 14 soldiers injured

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Military to file protest

By Joel Guinto, Julie Alipala
INQUIRER.net, Mindanao Bureau

First Posted 12:31:00 05/25/2008

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines–(UPDATE 2) Fourteen soldiers were wounded when suspected Abu Sayyaf members attacked a Marine detachment in Unkaya Pukan town in Basilan on Sunday morning.

Maj. Gen. Ben Dolorfino, Marine Corps Commander, said the Abu Sayyaf members were joined by Moro Islamic Liberation Front forces (MILF).

Dolorfino said the MILF rebels were led by Hud Limaya, commander of the MILF’s 3rd Brigade Islamic Armed Forces based in the formerly Tipo-tipo town, now divided into Unkaya Pukan, Tipo-tipo Central and Albarka.

“But we have already coordinated with the Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities to facilitate a stop to these encounters,” he said.

Earlier, Dolorfino had said the military would file a protest with the committee as it the attacks violated a long-standing ceasefire between the MILF and the military.

“We are definitely filing a protest. This is a violation of the ceasefire,” he said in a phone interview earlier with INQUIRER.net.

Dolorfino said the insurgent troops suffered two casualties in the firefight.

Unkaya Pukan mayor Joel Maturan said the two were killed in Materling. He identified one of those killed as Tiboy Indama.

The attack came while soldiers of the Marine Battalion Landing Team 8 (MBLT 8) were preparing for a break and were to be replaced by new graduates from MBLT 10 on Monday (May 26), said Dolorfino.

“We are not adding more troops in the area, we are just replacing the old troops that require further retraining and a break,” Dolorfino said.

Maturan, in a phone interview, said the detachment in the village of Tong Bato was attacked at 5:45 a.m., triggering the trading of mortar rounds where six soldiers were wounded.

But Dolorfino said 10 Marines, including an officer, were hurt in the Tong Bato attack, while four more soldiers were wounded when a V150 Commando Vehicle was fired upon in Barangay Materling.

Soldiers in the nearby village of Materling were on their way to Tong Bato for reinforcement when attacked.

“One of our V150 commando vehicles was also damaged when hit by a rocket propelled grenade,” Dolorfino said.

Maturan identified the leaders of the MILF-ASG attackers as Puruji Indama, Malista Malangka and Nod Muddalang.

As of 12 noon, Dolorfino said the MILF had directed its ground forces in Tong Bato to withdraw and clear the area.

Maturan said the local government would file charges against the MILF for initiating fresh attacks against soldiers that “again displaced our people.”

But Maturan said he could still not say how many families were displaced.

View article as posted on INQUIRER.net

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Written by joelguinto

SunUTC2008-05-25T07:41:45+00:00UTC05bUTCSun, 25 May 2008 07:41:45 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am05

Posted in Uncategorized

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