Southern Philippine Encounter With Rebels Kills At Least 30 Police Commandos
On Sunday, at least 30 police commanders were reported to be killed during a clash of the Muslim rebels and the government troops. It is one of the biggest single combat losses that the Philippine military has experienced in years.
A surprise attack
According to an insider, the commandos were set to enter a village to capture a high profile terrorist. However, the group did not expect to encounter the ferocious gang of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and other rebels in the area. A fierce battle took place. The exchange of gunshots left at least 30 of the well trained commandos dead.
Mayor Ampatuan and military officials said that the commandos did not coordinate with them their plan of entering the village. They were outnumbered by the rebel force which led in the bloodshed of many of the elites. The mayor said that if the group had coordinated with them, it would not have resulted in a bloody combat.
Ampatuan told the media that the battle on the swampy village stopped upon the intervention of a cease-fire committee and when the village leaders persuaded both camps to stop the battle.
The target of the supposedly ambush attack
Philippine officials who asked not to be named told the media that the target of the commandos’ attack was Zulkifli bin Hir. Marwan, as he is commonly known, is a Malaysian terrorist responsible for a number of deadly attacks.
According to intelligence reports he has been hiding in southern Philippines since 2003.
Marwan may have been killed during the battle or wounded. Either way, this story was not yet confirmed.
Rebel activities in the Philippines
The southern Philippines have been known as a breeding ground for insurgents and a place of refuge for international terrorists. Thousands of Philippine military have been deployed in the area to fight terrorism. Foreign military also had their share in the fight against insurgents in the Philippines. The battle has been going on for several decades.
Political leaders have already conducted several peace talks but have never really reached common grounds with the rebels. If not addressed sooner, this problem will continue to threaten the lives of soldiers and citizens living in the area.