AMBUSH OF CONVOY IN ZAMBOANGA SUR

2 army men killed, 2 others wounded

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ZAMBOANGA CITY: Two Philippine Army soldiers were killed while two others were wounded in a fresh ambush carried out by unidentified armed men on Monday in Zamboanga del Sur.

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Military officials said the assault targeted the troops belonging to the 53rd Infantry Battalion (IB).

The soldiers were attacked as their vehicle was passing through the village of Guinicolalay in Dinas town at about 8:30 a.m.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines’ Western Mindanao Command (AFP- Westmincom) has confirmed the ambush but did not release the ranks and identities of those who died in the attack.

Other reports said one of the slain soldiers who led the troops was a lieutenant.

“We cannot release the names of the casualties pending notification of their immediate families,” Maj. Filemon Tan, Westmincom spokesman, said.

No individual or group claimed responsibility for the attack but the province is a known lair of communist and Moro rebels whose groups are fighting separately for their own homeland in the restive Mindanao region.

Tan, however, said the incident might be linked to previous anti-kidnapping operations of the 53 IB, which resulted in the confiscation of several firearms and arrest of suspected kidnappers.

On November 18, four soldiers were also killed in a clash between government forces and Abu Sayyaf bandits in the village of Buhanginan in Patikul, Sulu.

The bandits also attacked government forces in Tuburan, Basilan, which left one soldier and a militiaman wounded a few hours after the Patikul encounter.

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