MILF attempt to retake camp in Kauswagan foiled by Army
- by Lino Dela Cruz and John Unson () - April 29, 2000 - 12:00am

ILIGAN CITY - Two soldiers were killed and six were wounded while an undetermined number of Muslim rebels were either killed or wounded yesterday as the Army's 62nd Infantry Brigade foiled an attempt by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front to recapture their camp in Inudaran, Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte.

The government troopers engaged some 600 Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebels in a fierce battle in the former MILF camp in Kauswagan as the rebels vainly tried to regain their lost camp.

Artillery fire from the Army's 402nd Brigade based in this city forced the MILF to withdraw from Inudaran, an Army officer from the brigade told The STAR.

Radio station dxIC here identified the fatalities as Cpl. Jason Laureno and Cpl. Rodrigo Vergara. Those wounded were Cpl. Bernardo Lagario,30; Pfc. Robert Fraga, 26; Cpl. Renato Sobreno, 33; Sgt. Jovitonio Relecio, 31; Cpl. Antonio Dakay, 34; Cpl. Reynaldo Magallon, 37;and Cpl. Danilo Entrolizo, 32.

The wounded were immediately taken to the Army hospital.

The MILF's Camp John Mac at Inudaran was overran by the First Marine Brigade headed by Gen. Emmanuel Teodosio last month after heavy fighting in Kauswagan.

Meanwhile, the MILF attacked several Army outposts in Buldon, Maguindanao, yesterday in what could be an initial salvo of fierce clashes near Camp Abubakar, the rebels' main enclave in the province, and the critical stretches of the Secretary Narciso Ramos Highway.

The fighting was so intense that the Army's 6th Infantry Division, which has jurisdiction over the towns surrounding Camp Abubakar, had to use OV-10 Bronco planes and helicopter gunships against the rebels.

The fighting erupted while hundreds of guerrillas were bracing for an offensive by a brigade-size Marine contingent on MILF checkpoints along the Kapatagan-Matanog stretch of the embattled highway.

The MILF has refused to dismantle the checkpoints despite complaints of civilians of excessive collection of "toll fees" by guerrillas manning them.

Maj. Julieto Ando, civil-military relations chief of the 6th Infantry Division, said a certain Cpl. John Panisa of the 3rd Infantry Battalion was wounded in the gunfight.

"We are not so sure if there are other soldiers wounded in the hostilities because fighting has been raging since 10:30 a.m. (of April 28)," Ando said.

Ando said the rebels cordoned off the detachments of the battalion's units in Barangay Nuuyo, Buldon, and opened fire with mortars, rockets and machineguns.

Ghadzali Jaafar, MILF's political officer, and the government's chief negotiator, Gen. (ret.) Edgardo Batenga, held an emergency meeting Thursday night to resolve the security problems along the highway but failed to come out with solutions.

ANDO ANTONIO DAKAY BARANGAY NUUYO BERNARDO LAGARIO BULDON CAMP ABUBAKAR CAMP JOHN MAC CPL INFANTRY DIVISION INUDARAN KAUSWAGAN
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