Cotabota, Aug. 10 (Xinhua-ANI): The death toll from the ongoing battle between Muslim rebels and state security forces in southern Philippines has reached 32, a military official confirmed on Friday.
Lt. Col. Prudencio Asto, the Philippine army's 6th division public affairs chief, said at least 27 members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and five soldiers were killed in hostilities in Maguindanao.
Eight other (soldiers), two of them junior officers, were ( also) wounded. Our operation against the rebels continue, said Asto.
Loreto Rirao, executive director of the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, said 7,330 families from eight towns in Maguindanao province were displaced by the ongoing fighting.
The 1,000-strong BIFF led by Ameril Umbra Kato is the armed wing of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement (BIFM) which broke away from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in 2010.
Kato, a former commander of the MILF 105th Base Command, was tagged as the mastermind behind the attacks on civilian communities in the southern Philippine province of North Cotabato in 2008.
He launched the attacks following the botched signing of the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain between the government and the MILF peace panels. (Xinhua-ANI)