One dead in attack on UN relief truck in southern Philippines

December 23rd, 2008 - 1:35 pm ICT by IANS  

Manila, Dec 23 (DPA) Unidentified gunmen fired at a United Nations truck carrying rice to evacuees in southern Philippines, killing one Filipino worker, a UN representative said Tuesday.Stephen Anderson, the World Food Programme (WFP) representative in the Philippines, said the truck was attacked late Sunday in Calanogas town in Lanao del Sur province, 855 km south of Manila.

“WFP strongly deplores the senseless loss of life of an individual who was assisting in the delivery of humanitarian assistance,” he said in a statement.

Fierce clashes between government troops and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels took place in the area recently, with the MILF attacking towns and seizing villages in early August.

The WFP has been supplying rice in evacuation centres to hundreds of thousands of people who have been displaced by the hostilities.

The recent armed confrontation between the military and the MILF erupted after the Supreme Court stopped a key territory deal that would have expanded the existing autonomous Muslim region in the strife-torn Mindanao Island.

Government investigators said the attack on the UN relief truck was probably perpetrated by bandits who wanted to rob the vehicle.

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