Philippines: Up to 3,500 people flee fighting between MILF and government forces in Basilan
|Publisher||Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC)|
|Publication Date||21 October 2011|
|Cite as||Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), Philippines: Up to 3,500 people flee fighting between MILF and government forces in Basilan , 21 October 2011, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4ea148762.html [accessed 21 May 2013]|
Between 1,500 and 3,500 people have reportedly fled their homes in south-western Mindanao as a result of intense fighting between rebels of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Philippine armed forces near the town of Al-Barka, on the island province of Basilan. The displaced people, most of whom fled as a result of shelling by the military near their villages, reportedly sought refuge in nearby towns. No information was given on the conditions they faced or their needs, but the mayor of Al-Barka did appeal for assistance. 19 soldiers and six rebels were reported killed in the 18 October clash.
According to the MILF, who accused the military of violating the truce between the parties, their attack followed an army assault on a MILF camp. The army stated that the soldiers were chasing a kidnapping gang when they were attacked by the MILF. The government described the incident as a "misencounter" which would not affect the upcoming peace talks.