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AFP denies renewed fighting between ASG, MNLF

February 7, 2013 7:15pm
Armed Forces chief Gen. Emmanuel Bautista yesterday disputed reports of renewed fighting between the Abu Sayyaf terrorists and Moro National Liberation Front fighters in the hinterlands of Sulu.

Interviewed over  radio dzRH, Bautista said the only fighting recorded between the two was last Sunday's firefight where 14 Abu Sayyaf men and eight MNLF rebels died. Four of the MNLF fatalities were beheaded.

On Wednesday, MNLF spokesman Emmanuel Fontanilla claimed MNLF forces overran an Abu Sayyaf camp rescuing three foreign hostages in the process.

“We have no information. We’ve been to Jolo [last Tuesday] and the only fighting that has taken place there was last Sunday. This was not followed [by more fighting],” said Bautista.

The military said the initial battle was triggered by a misunderstanding. The MNLF had been helping the government in securing the freedom of hostages being held by the terrorist group in Sulu.

In the meantime, Bautista said, government troops remain deployed in Sulu to prevent an escalation or spillover in the fighting.

“Another thing that we are doing is we helping the evacuees in coordination with the DSWD and local government,” he said. “What we are doing is to prevent more civilians getting affected and prevent the fighting from spreading to other areas.” — DVM, GMA News
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