Philippine government troops recently clashed with armed fighters of a minor faction of separatist Muslim rebels in a hostile marshland in the southern Philippines, killing four gunmen and wounding seven others, the military said Wednesday.
Captain Antonio Bulao, Philippine Army's 602nd Brigade's operations officer, said infantry soldiers pounded with artillery fires a stronghold of the Bangsa Moro Islamic Freedom Fighters ( BIFF) in the marshes of Gaunan's sub-village of Pedtad in M'lang, North Cotabato in renewed fighting with some 60 BIFF rebels who broke away from major separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front ( MILF) now committed to a ceasefire under Malaysian-brokered peace talks.
Bulao said fierce fighting broke Tuesday morning in Pedtad marshland, following BIFF rebels' hostage-taking in Midsayap on Sept. 23 of 32 villagers whose rescue resulted in the killing of three soldiers, two rebels, and two civilians, one of whom beheaded by Muslim fighters.
"Our troops had difficulty closing in because there is no approach that's not covered by water. The clearing operation is continuing as of now," Bulao stressed.