Latest clashes in the Philippines leave 23 dead

Five government soldiers and 18 members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement (BIFM) were killed in clashes on July 6 in the Philippines’ Maguindanao and North Cotabato provinces, the Philippine military said on July 7.
Three soldiers were killed when BIFM fighters set off a roadside bomb as a military truck drove past in the Datu Piang region of Maguindanao.

Later, two other soldiers died in a skirmish with BIFM fighters in the town of Pikit in North Cotabaco .

A BIFM spokesman confirmed that his group was behind the attacks and will continue similar offensives until the military leave Maguindanao.

BIFM was formed by Ameril Umbrakato, a former senior member of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

The BIMF attacks occurred two days before the scheduled day for Philippine government and MILF to resume talks in Malaysia .

MILF has waged a guerrilla war for a separate Islamic state in Mindanao since the 1970s.-VNA