^

Nation

MILF men, soldiers clash in Basilan

Roel Pareño - The Philippine Star

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – Casualties were reported as members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) attacked government troopers in Ungkaya Pukan, Basilan on Tuesday night.

MILF insiders said 10 of their members were killed and several others were wounded in the fighting, which was ongoing in Barangay Ulitan as of yesterday afternoon.

Five soldiers were wounded in the clash, according to the unofficial reports.

”Our troops are on the defensive while the MILF is attacking,” Brig. Gen. Domingo Gobway, Joint Task Force Basilan and 101st Infantry Brigade commander, said.

He said the deaths reported by the MILF cannot be confirmed ”because they were taking away their casualties.”

An MILF leader, who asked not be named, called on the military to withdraw its forces, claiming it is an MILF area.

Gobway rejected the demand, saying the village is being used as a sanctuary of lawless elements.

Prior to the incident, the military said it received a letter from an MILF faction led by a certain Huram seeking permission to allow its members and their families to go to Barangay Ulitan on Tuesday.

Gobway said the request was approved on condition that the group would not bring firearms.

However, he said the military discovered that MILF members arrived in the village as early as Monday night.

Gobway said the firefight started when a soldier at an Army detachment was hit by a sniper attack.

“Fortunately, the bullet hit the Kevlar helmet of the soldier and caused only a bump on his head,” he said.

Around 30 MILF members were reinforced by lawless elements, Gobway said.

Basilan Rep. Mujiv Hataman called on the government and the MILF to review ceasefire mechanisms to prevent a similar incident.

“We are calling for an immediate ceasefire between warring forces... for the safety of the citizens who may be affected by the exchange of fire, and so that the situation does not get worse,” he said. –  John Unson

MILF

Philstar
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

FORGOT PASSWORD?
SIGN IN
or sign in with