Accidental? Sure, the army just happened to get in the way of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front’s bullets. Later, the captive soldiers’ necks happened to get in the way of their machetes.
Yeah. That’s it. These things happen. “Philippine leader says no offensive despite Muslim rebel killing of 19 soldiers; army grieves,” from the Associated Press:
MANILA, Philippines “” President Benigno Aquino III said Thursday he would not resort to ordering an army offensive against Muslim guerrillas who killed 19 army soldiers in the southern Philippines despite a clamor for tougher government action.
Tuesday”s intense fighting on southern Basilan island between army special forces and members of the 11,000-strong Moro Islamic Liberation Front killed 25 combatants, including six guerrillas. It was some of the deadliest fighting since 2008, when peace talks bogged down and ignited widespread clashes that killed hundreds and displaced 750,000 people.
A cease-fire guarded by a Malaysia-led peacekeeping contingent had held until Tuesday.
The rebels have waged a bloody insurgency for self-rule in the southern Mindanao region, the homeland of minority Muslims in the predominantly Roman Catholic Philippines. The conflict has killed more than 120,000 people in nearly four decades.
The military and the guerrillas accused each other of instigating Tuesday”s clash. Both planned to protest before a government-rebel truce committee.
Army officials, angered by their heavy loss, also publicly disagreed with officials handling peace talks with the Moro rebels. Government negotiator Marvic Leonen said the clash was accidental and peace talks would proceed.
“Maybe in his perspective that was a misencounter because he doesn’t treat the rebels anymore as enemies,” army spokesman Col. Antonio Parlade told DZRH radio.
Parlade said six of the soldiers ran out of ammunition while the gunbattle raged and were taken captive by the guerrillas. They were later found dead with hack wounds, sparking anger in the 120,000-strong military…..
It sure sounds like the MILF jihadists are really committed to peace, doesn’t it?