Philippine troops ambushed by Abu Sayyaf rebels
Suspected Abu Sayyaf terrorists rebels on Tuesday ambushed a group of government soldiers and injuring seven in the troubled province of Basilan in the southern Philippines.

Officials said the attack sparked a gun battle in the town of Ungkaya Pukan. Col. Rodrigo Gregorio, a spokesman for the Western Mindanao Command, said, “The fire fight lasted for 20 minutes. The wounded soldiers were evacuated to military hospital in Zamboanga City."

He said the ambush occurred at around 7:40 a.m. in the village of Bohe Pahu and came the day after the Philippine Army and Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebels in Basilan held a peace pact.

Gregorio said, “We suspect that this is the handiwork of peace spoilers, particularly the Abu Sayyaf rebels who wanted to destroy the significant headway that we achieved from the successful meetings with the MILF on January 4 and January 21.

“The Abu Sayyaf wanted to make a strong statement that they are still round and wanted the Armed Forces to act indiscriminately and impair the ongoing peace talks between the Philippine government and the MILF,” he added, referring to the ambush.

He said the 104th Infantry Brigade in Basilan will closely coordinate with the MILF and local authorities to address the situation in the Muslim province.

Gregorio said, “The 104th Infantry Brigade will act prudently and observe maximum restraint while planning jointly with the local government and MILF on how we can finally eradicate the Abu Sayyaf menace and violent attacks that greatly affect the relative peace that we had achieved from the Bangsamoro agreement."
Posted by: ryuge 2013-01-23