RealNews

MILF death toll hits 200 in three days of fighting

After three attempts to recapture their former stronghold in Pikit, North Cotabato, Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) guerrillas continued to suffer heavy losses with 200 killed in renewed clashes the past three days, the military reported yesterday. Despite the mounting death toll, MILF rebels still pressed on their attacks on various military units defending Buliok complex in Pikit, Army regional spokesman Maj. Julieto Ando said. “They have been given chance to retrieve their casualties but they continued harassing this morning our ground forces,” Ando said. He said the MILF sustained heavy casualties Wednesday when the rebels fired a barrage of mortar rounds, forcing the military to retaliate by using attack helicopters and snipers on known rebel positions. Maj. Gen. Hermogenes Esperon said the that of the military’s 112,000 officers and men, 45,000, or 40 percent, are now deployed in Mindanao. Col. Cardozo Luna, commander of the Army’s 602nd Brigade based in North Cotabato, said more than half of the rebel combatants killed were untrained adolescents, some of them high school students in nearby towns. “The MILF always cites the Geneva Convention and the other international laws prohibiting the use of children to fight in actual combat to create the impression that it is a disciplined group, yet it cannot adhere to the international norms it claims to be espousing,” Luna said. Full Story

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