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Army, MILF clash in Cotabato for 2nd time in a week

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By Joel Guinto
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 13:15:00 07/01/2008

MANILA, Philippines — Army troops clashed with Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels in Cotabato province on Tuesday, the second encounter between the two forces in Central Mindanao in a week, a regional military spokesman said.

There were no immediate reports of casualties in the 30-minute firefight in sitio (sub-village) Bliss, Pagangan village, Aleosan town that started at around 8:30 a.m., said Major Armand Rico, information officer of the Eastern Mindanao Command.

Troops from the 40th Infantry Battalion were on patrol when they were fired on by an estimated 120 fighters from the 105th and 108th Base Command of the MILF, sparking the gunbattle, Rico said.

The rebel forces were allegedly led by Commanders Motalib Kague Limbas, Talanok, Mustapha, and Manalapas, the spokesman said.

“We did not launch counteroffensives [against the MILF] because we respect the primacy of the peace process. But this is too much,” said Lieutenant Colonel Julieto Ando, spokesman of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division operating in Central Mindanao.

Last June 25, Army soldiers clashed with the MILF in Maitum town, Sarangani, leaving one rebel killed. The following day, the rebels fired mortar rounds at an Army camp Tugaig town, Shariff Kabunsuan province, causing minor damage.

Armed Forces chief General Alexander Yano said a protest would be filed against the MILF before the joint Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH) over the June 25 and June 26 incidents.

Peace talks between the government and the MILF are deadlocked on the issue of ancestral domain.

View article as posted on INQUIRER.net

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Written by joelguinto

TueUTC2008-07-01T06:35:18+00:00UTC07bUTCTue, 01 Jul 2008 06:35:18 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am07

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