'6 killed as Muslim rebels take over Philippines village'
Six people were killed when Muslim separatist guerrillas attacked and occupied a village in the southern Philippines for over a day, military and police officials said on Thursday.world Updated: Dec 25, 2008 10:07 IST
Six people were killed when Muslim separatist guerrillas attacked and occupied a village in the southern Philippines for over a day, military and police officials said on Thursday.
Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels attacked Midtungo village in the southern island of Mindanao with rocket-propelled grenades and assault rifles on Tuesday, said military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Julieto Ando.
The militants killed six residents and wounded another, he said.
As many as 400 families fled the village after the attack, said town social welfare officer Edmund Corder.
Provincial police chief Senior Superintendent Ben-Hur Mongao said the MILF fighters had occupied the village but that the army, police and government militiamen had cordoned off the area to prevent them going any further.
Evacuated residents had taken refuge in the town hall and were being cared for by local officials Mongao said, although he could not say how many had fled.
More troops were being rushed to the area and a clash with the rebels could take place later in the day, he said.
MILF spokesman Eid Kabalu denied there had been an attack and accused the military of trying to provoke the separatist group.
The government suspended peace talks with the MILF after the group launched attacks across Mindanao in August to protest a court order stopping a deal that would have given the rebels control over a Muslim autonomous region.
More than 600,000 people were displaced in fighting that followed, while dozens of civilians, guerrillas and soldiers have been killed.