Philippino Jihad: "Southern Rebels" Attack Philippine Special Forces in "Restive South"- 25 Dead

“A truce was signed in 2003, but the ceasefire is frequently broken by sporadic violence”– The MILF insists that the government were the aggressors in the latest clash.

Sure. They’re only ‘defending Islam’. They always do.

Al Jizz

At least 25 people have been killed during fighting between Philippine special forces and rebels in the country’s south.

Abu Sayyaf peaceniks….

The Philippine army said it was searching for several missing soldiers after the clashes, the worst in the area for three years. Both soldiers and rebels from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) were among those killed, and several more soldiers were reported injured.

The violence has thrown an already shaky ceasefire into further jeopardy.

The clash erupted early on Tuesday morning, after a Philippine army platoon encountered the rebels near Barka town on the island province of Basilan, according to an army spokesman.

The soldiers were checking reports of a kidnapping incident involving Abu Sayyaf fighters when the rebels stormed in, said Lieutenant Colonel Randolph Cabangbang.

Rebel leader

He said the troops were attacked by a MILF unit led by Dan Laksaw Ansawi, a rebel leader who escaped from a Basilan jail in 2009. Several missing soldiers were believed to be held by the MILF, he said.

“We are currently co-ordinating with the ad-hoc joint action group and the committee on cessation and hostilities to contact the MILF, to verify the report,” he added.

Von al-Haq, a spokesman for the MILF, was unable to confirm on Tuesday that the group was holding the soldiers.

“We have yet to receive information from our forces on the ground that they are holding the soldiers,” he told the AFP news agency.

He added that if the troops were being held, they would be released.

The MILF insists that the government were the aggressors in the latest clash, and that its fighters were now on alert.

Two helicopter gunships and two OV-10 aircraft were deployed to quell the fighting and rescue the wounded, the military said.

An undetermined number of rebels have been wounded by air strikes and ground bombardment in the latest clashes.

“It was the bloodiest encounter between the military and armed Muslim guerillas in the last few years,” reported Al Jazeera’s Marga Ortigas from North Cotabato in the Philippines.

The 12,000-strong MILF has been negotiating with the government to end more than four decades of conflict that has killed at least 120,000 people and displaced two million.

Talks in Malaysia have been stalled since August, when rebel leaders rejected a deal that would allow for a certain degree of autonomy. They demanded a sub-state be created.

The Philippines’ south is resource-rich, but the conflict has also stunted economic growth.

A truce was signed in 2003, but the ceasefire is frequently broken by sporadic violence.

One thought on “Philippino Jihad: "Southern Rebels" Attack Philippine Special Forces in "Restive South"- 25 Dead”

  1. Philippines: MILF jihadists admit responsibility for killing 19 soldiers who intruded on “their” territory

    MILF wants a “no go zone” of its own, even as it still plays at negotiating with Manila. “Philippine Muslim rebels ready ‘to fight’ if attacked,” from Agence France Presse, October 31:

    Muslim rebels in the Philippines are ready to “fight back” after the government warned it would go after them if they sheltered outlaws, a spokesman said Monday.
    Fighters from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) are prepared for a possible assault, their spokesman Von al-Haq said, adding the group remains committed to peace talks with the government.
    “We have already ordered our men on the ground to be in defensive positions. But that is over the apprehension that there may be an attack,” he told reporters.
    “If we are pushed to the wall, we have to fight back. That’s very clear.”
    His warnings came after the military said the MILF could be targeted if it continues to shelter “lawless elements” — despite a ceasefire to end a decades-old rebellion that has left 150,000 dead since the 1970s.
    Over recent weeks, military and police pursuit of outlaws in the southern Philippines have turned into pitched battles with MILF-linked forces that left as many as 40 soldiers, police and civilians dead.
    While the MILF eventually disowned some of those being pursued, it has admitted responsibility for the killing of 19 soldiers in the southern island of Basilan, saying they intruded on rebel territory.
    Military spokesman Colonel Arnulfo Burgos said that despite the MILF’s fears, a ceasefire mechanism was still in place that would prevent violence between the two sides.
    He also said upcoming informal talks between the MILF and the government in early-November would hopefully ease the tensions.
    “Tensions.” Now, there is an overused euphemism in the mainstream media, sounding as if perhaps a spa day might clear all of this up.

    “We will wait for the feedback from what happens in the peace talks in November,” Burgos said.

Comments are closed.