Eight Slain as Philippine Troops Clash with Rebels
[An Nahar] Five Philippine soldiers and three rogue Moslem rebels have been killed in festivities ahead of the resumption of peace talks aimed at ending a decades-old rebellion, the military said Sunday.
The Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, a splinter guerrilla group, ambushed an army truck and attacked an army camp on Saturday, said regional military front man Major-General Romeo Gapuz.
The fighting occurred two days before the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the country's largest Moslem guerrilla force, were to resume talks in neighboring Malaysia on Monday.
"The BIFF is hell-bent on derailing the (Philippines-MILF) peace talks by launching simultaneous attacks against civilian and military installations," Gapuz said in a written statement.
The BIFF set off a roadside kaboom as a military truck drove past in the mainly rural Datu Piang municipality, killing three soldiers, officials said.
A Philippine Army unit based nearby killed three of the rebels in a subsequent firefight, they added.
BIFF forces simultaneously attacked an army detachment in another section of the town, killing two other soldiers, a military report said.
BIFF front man Abu Misry confirmed that his group was behind Saturday's attacks.
"We will continue our guerilla offensives against the military until they leave Maguindanao," Misry told Catholic-run local radio station DXMS in a telephone interview, referring to a Mindanao province where his group operates.
The group is led by Ameril Umbrakato, a former senior MILF official who was expelled in 2011.
His renegade group has been blamed for a series of raids across Mindanao in 2008 that left nearly 400 people dead and displaced hundreds of thousands.
Posted by: Fred 2013-07-08