COTABATO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Sept. 29, 2008) – Four government soldiers were wounded in a clashed Monday with Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebels in the Muslim autonomous region of Mindanao, officials said.
Officials said the fighting erupted after MILF forces attacked a military post in the Village of Andavit in Datu Piang town in Maguindanao province. "Four of our soldiers are wounded in the fighting," said Major Armand Rico, a regional army spokesman.
MILF attacks are becoming more frequent in the province and nearby areas the restive Muslim region where government assault on rebels, blamed for deadly attacks last month, also continued.
Manila has blamed several hardliners in the MILF, among them commanders Ameril Kato, Abdurahman Macapaar and Sulayman Panglian, for the series of attacks that killed dozens of innocent civilians.
The MILF, on the other hand, blamed the aborted signing of the Muslim territorial deal between rebel and government peace negotiators, for the hostilities. The deal would have expanded the Muslim autonomous region, which is made up of six provinces. It would have granted homeland to more than four million Muslims in over 700 villages across Mindanao.
President Gloria Arroyo has scrapped the territorial deal and disbanded the government panel negotiating peace with the MILF. She also suspended the seven-year old peace talks after the MILF rejected government demands to surrender the rogue rebel leaders. (Mindanao Examiner)