Soldier killed, 3 hurt in rebel raids in Philippines

Soldier killed, 3 hurt in rebel raids in Philippines

A soldier was killed and three others wounded when Muslim rebels simultaneously attacked military detachments in two southern Philippine provinces on Saturday, a military spokeswoman said.

An hour-long gun battle broke out when separatist rebel group Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters raided a camp in President Quirino town in Sultan Kudarat province shortly after midnight, Captain Jo-ann Petinglay said in a statement.

The BIFF, which opposes current peace talks between the country’s main Muslim rebel group and the government, also launched an attack on a camp in General Salipada K. Pendatun town in Maguindanao province, she said.

The raids were meant to sabotage the negotiations, Petinglay said, adding that the separatists “will continually be a potent spoiler to peace”.

The BIFF split from the country’s main Muslim rebel group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), in 2008 to fight for a separate Islamic state in the mainly Catholic Philippines.

It made no comment about Saturday’s attacks. The military had also blamed the BIFF for a bus bombing in the south in December that claimed 10 lives, and an ambush in November that killed an army major and two of his men.

The MILF signed a peace deal with President Benigno Aquino’s government in March last year, paving the way for an expansion of the current autonomous Muslim region.

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