Manila: Philippine troops are battling Muslim guerrillas in fierce fighting in a volatile southern province that has killed at least 15 combatants.
Regional military spokesman Lt. Col. Randolph Cabangbang says the fighting erupted at dawn today near Al-Barka town on Basilan island. Sporadic clashes continued later Tuesday in the remote area.
Cabangbang says at least 12 soldiers have been killed in the fighting and 10 others are missing.
The Moro Islamic Liberation Front says at least three rebels have been killed in the clash.
The group accused troops of attacking their stronghold in violation of a cease-fire.