MANILA, Philippines – A Philippine military official says 17 Muslim rebels from a breakaway faction and a soldier have died in renewed clashes.
Military spokesman Col. Dickson Hermoso said fighters with the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement attacked army troops in two adjacent towns in the southern Maguindanao province.
Three other soldiers were wounded early Monday.
The rebels broke off from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the main rebel group which signed a new Muslim autonomy deal with the government in March. The breakaway rebels opposed the peace talks and took up arms for an independent Muslim homeland in the south of the predominantly Roman Catholic nation.