Southern Philippine clash kills 10

Source: Xinhua| 2018-01-07 19:03:15|Editor: Lifang
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MANILA, Jan. 7 (Xinhua) -- At least 10 people, including an army soldier, have died in clashes between government troops and anti-government militants in southern Philippines, an army officer said on Sunday.

Army Capt. Arvin Encinas said government forces foiled an attack of some 50 Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) on Saturday night, triggering a firefight that killed nine members of the notorious extremist group.

He said a soldier was also killed and another wounded in the clash that took place around 7:20 p.m. local time in Maitumaig, a remote village in Datu Unsay town in Maguindanao province in southern Philippines.

Encinas said soldiers and the BIFF men traded fires until around midnight, until the rebels withdrew. The military used aircraft and artillery assets to fight the BIFF rebels.

"We were able to hit the group that is planning to harass our army detachment," Encinas said.

The military has stepped up operations against the BIFF since August last year, in collaboration with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) which signed a peace accord with the government in 2014. BIFF is a MILF splinter group which opposes the peace pact.

The military classifies the BIFF as a terrorist organization. Like the Abu Sayyaf and the Maute Group, the BIFF has also pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) group.