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Nation

9 terrorists, 8 MILF fighters killed in Mindanao clashes

by John Unson And Allen Estabillo - The Philippine Star

COTABATO CITY, Philippines — Nine Dawlah Islamiya terrorists were killed, while six others were wounded in a series of encounters with combatants of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in Pagalungan, Maguindanao del Sur over the weekend.

The clashes also resulted in eight fatalities on the side of the MILF, a former Muslim secessionist group that has entered into a peace pact with the government.

After sensing that an MILF reinforcement was approaching, the military said the terrorists shot dead five persons including a brother of a village official, a minor and three others in Barangay Dalgan to mislead the MILF backup.

The terrorists escaped through the Liguasan Delta in several boats.

Local officials including Vice Mayor Abdillah Mamasabulod and village leaders yesterday confirmed to journalists and Bangsamoro police that the skirmishes occurred in Barangay Dalgan and nearby areas.

The clashes erupted following an attack by MILF fighters on a local Dawlah Islamiya faction, in support of the Army’s efforts to neutralize the terrorists.

Maj. Gen. Alex Rillera, chief of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, said he received reports that MILF fighters had neutralized nine terrorists over the weekend.

The MILF counterterrorism operation was reportedly conducted in coordination with the police and military.

An official of the Pagalungan peace and order council said the operation against the Dawlah Islamiya was reportedly led by Akmad Abas, a member of the 80-seat Bangsamoro parliament and chief of the MILF’s Eastern Mindanao Group.

Police said the terrorists carried with them the bodies of their slain comrades as they escaped from the scene of the encounters.

The identities of the slain MILF fighters were not immediately available.

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