12 killed in clash between army soldiers and Muslim rebels in southern Philippines

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A Philippine army commander says two soldiers and 10 members of a Muslim rebel group opposed to a peace accord with the government have been killed in fighting a day after the president submitted legislation to Congress that would create a new Muslim autonomous region.

Maj. Gen. Edmundo Pangilinan said pursuing troops caught up with about 20 rebels who had attacked an army detachment in North Cotabato province, triggering a firefight.

He said six soldiers were wounded during the two-hour gunbattle early Thursday.

On Wednesday, President Benigno Aquino III presented congressional leaders with a proposed law that would create the self-governing Muslim region as part of a peace agreement concluded earlier this year with the country's main rebel group.