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4 killed in Marawi ambush

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) – A boy and at least three soldiers were killed after an unidentified group ambushed the Philippine Army in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur on Wednesday night.

Initial reports said an undetermined number of suspects fired shots at members of the 65th Infantry Battalion on patrol near the Mindanao State University (MSU) at around 9 p.m.
Three soldiers were killed and at least 12 others were injured during the firefight that lasted for about 30 minutes.

Sr. Supt. Romeo Magsalos of Philippine National Police - Lanao del Sur, confirmed that a 10-year-old boy was one of the fatalities.

Magsalos also said two students were injured.

The clash has reportedly forced the university administration to put the entire university in a lockdown, according to Twitter user Khal Mambuay (@iamkhalmambuay).
“Classes in #MSUMarawi have been suspended. No one is allowed to enter and leave the campus premises,” Mambuay said.

“Everyone is discouraged to go outside from their dormitories or houses. #MSUMarawi is temporarily in a lock down situation,” she added.

The 103rd Infantry Brigade under Commander Daniel Lucero has ordered a pursuit operation against the attackers.

The attack comes in the wake of the clash earlier this week between the military and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, a breakaway group from of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

The 103rd Infantry Brigade under Commander Daniel Lucero has ordered a pursuit operation against the attackers.

The government said the attacks were apparently meant to derail negotiations with the larger, more mainstream MILF.

The breakaway rebels are headed by Ameril Umbra Kato, a hardline Saudi Arabia-educated guerrilla who split from the 12,000-strong MILF after it dropped its bid for full independence to negotiate for an autonomous region.

Kato has boasted of having about 5,000 armed fighters, though military officials believe he only has a few hundred under his command.

The government has said it hopes to sign a peace deal with the MILF by the end of the year, but has asked the MILF leadership to help contain the forces of Kato, who opposes peace talks.

The Mindanao insurgency began in the early 1970s and the fighting has killed some 150,000 people, miring large parts of the south in deep poverty.

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Ronnie Enderes | ABS-CBN  News Online | August 9, 2012 | Article Link

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