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Govt men, bandits clash in Zamboanga

September 16, 2008 11:28pm

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – Government militiamen clashed with bandits Tuesday on a hinterland village in Zamboanga City in the southern Philippines, officials said.

Village officials said they were verifying reports that a militiaman was killed in the fighting in Curuan district, but the army has confirmed that one civilian was wounded in the clash.

Security officials said the bandits were extorting money from villagers and that the fighting broke out after gunmen attacked militias guarding the area.

"These bandits have been extorting money from residents in the area and militias clashed with these lawless elements," said Colonel Santiago Baluyot, commander of an army task force.

Baluyot led soldiers in pursuing the gunmen, numbering about 20, who retreated deeper into the jungle. - Al Jacinto, GMANews.TV