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Two more rebel camps fall in Philippines: military

Two Muslim rebel camps have been overrun in the southern Philippines by troops battling a separatist insurgency, just days after they took another camp in the area, the military said on Monday.

world Updated: Jun 08, 2009 13:28 IST

Two Muslim rebel camps have been overrun in the southern Philippines by troops battling a separatist insurgency, just days after they took another camp in the area, the military said on Monday.

The number of dead insurgents also rose to 35, they said.

Intense air assaults backed by artillery fire on the ground led to the capture of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) camps near the town of Guindulungan on Sunday, regional army spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Ponce said.

The number of MILF casualties “has risen to 35 and 28 wounded while government forces suffered five wounded in action,” Ponce said.

No other details of the captured camps could be made available, he said.

On Saturday, a MILF training camp also near Guindulungan fell to government troops after days of intense fighting, the military said.

Military reports from the field said the bodies of slain rebels were retrieved from shallow graves dug by the MILF.

There were also foxholes, fortified bunkers and an administration office inside the first camp.

The Guindulungan bases were believed to be the strongholds of MILF commander Ameril Umbrakato, one of two senior rebel commanders who broke a five-year ceasefire in August and pillaged several mostly Christian towns and provinces.

More than 300 fighters and civilians were killed in the fighting, and hundreds of thousands displaced.

The attacks came after a court rejected a draft peace accord between the MILF and President Gloria Arroyo’s government which had offered autonomous rule to the rebels over large areas in the south.

The 12,000-strong MILF has been waging a separatist rebellion since 1978 to carve out an Islamic state in the southern third of this largely Catholic nation.