Eight rebels killed in Philippine military air strike

March 2nd, 2009 - 8:57 pm ICT by IANS  

Manila, March 2 (Xinhua) Security forces in the Philippines Monday launched an air strike against armed rebels on a restive southern island, killing at least eight guerrillas, a military official said.
The air strike was carried out after fighting between soldiers and undetermined number of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels erupted in a secluded village outside the town of Kabuntulan in Mindanao island, regional military spokesperson Col. Jonathan Ponce told reporters.

He said a military aircraft, SF-260, provided air support to soldiers on the ground during the fighting that began mid-afternoon.

MILF spokesperson confirmed the air strike but denied any casualties from their side.

The military authority also reported Monday that two government soldiers were killed while another was injured in two separate clashes with MILF rebels Sunday in Maguindanao and North Cotabato provinces.

Peace talks between the government and the 11,800-member MILF collapsed in August 2008 after the two sides failed to sign an agreement on ancestral domain, prompting radical rebel commanders to launch deadly attacks on Christian communities in Mindanao.

The government has stepped up operations against the group since then.

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