One soldier killed, two hurt in Pilippine clash

One soldier killed, two hurt in Pilippine clash Cotabato City, Philippines  - One soldier was killed and two were injured in a clash with Muslim secessionist rebels in the southern Philippines Tuesday, a regional army spokesman said.

Colonel Jonathan Ponce said the fighting erupted when patrolling troops encountered at least 20 Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels in Alamada town in North Cotabato province, 960 kilometres south of Manila.

Ponce said there was no report of MILF casualties in the firefight that lasted for one hour. The rebels withdrew to the jungles.

On Sunday, two soldiers were killed in clash with MILF rebels in the same town.

The MILF has been fighting for the establishment of a separate Islamic state in the southern region of Mindanao since 1978.

Peace talks between the MILF and the Philippine government have been suspended since August 2008 when the guerrillas launched a series of attacks in Mindanao, triggering fierce fighting with the military.

Nearly 300 people were killed in the attack and subsequent fighting, while more than 500,000 civilians were displaced by the violence.

The hostilities erupted after the Supreme Court stopped the signing of a territorial agreement between the MILF and the government that would have expanded a Muslim autonomous region in Mindanao. (dpa)