Five Muslim rebels killed in the Philippines
Nov 4, 2011, 9:12 GMT
Cotabato City, Philippines - Five Muslim rebels were killed in a clash with government forces in the southern Philippines, an army brigade commander said Friday.
Three people were also wounded in the fighting that erupted late Thursday between Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) guerrillas and the militiamen in Tulunan town in North Cotabato province, 960 kilometres south of Manila.
Colonel Cesar Sedillo said the clash stopped only when members of the Malaysian-led International Monitoring Team, which oversees the ceasefire between the MILF and government troops, arrived and intervened.
Sedillo said the fighting could have been triggered by a land dispute.
The clash erupted as government and MILF negotiators met Thursday in Kuala Lumpur in a bid to ease tension triggered by recent clashes between guerrillas and soldiers in the provinces of Basilan and Zamboanga Sibugay that killed nearly 50 people.
The 12,000-strong MILF has been fighting for an independent Islamic state in the southern Philippines since 1978. It entered into peace negotiations with the government in 1997.