By AARON B. RECUENCO & ALI G. MACABALANG
Philippines – Gunmen killed three soldiers and wounded 14 others in an ambush at the vicinity of the Mindanao State University (MSU) in Marawi City on Wednesday.
Senior Supt. Romeo Magsalos, director of the Lanao del Norte Police, said a 10-year-old boy also died during the crossfire, adding that two MSU students were also wounded.
Capt. Albert Caber, spokesman of the 1st Infantry Division, said two of the 12 wounded members of the 65th Infantry Battalion are still in critical condition due to serious bullet wounds.
Caber said a military truck was transporting the soldiers tasked to conduct security operations in the area when about 15 heavily-armed men started shooting the vehicle at around 9 p.m.
Col. Daniel Lucero, head of the Army’s 103 Infantry Brigade, said the attack critically wounded three civilians aboard a private vehicle tailing the ill-fated military truck.
He said the attackers fled to dif ferent directions when reinforcing troops from a nearby detachment arrived at the scene and engaged them in a 20-minute firefight.
A 10-year-old boy was fatally hit by a sniper shot from some of the fleeing gunmen, who clashed with blocking troops at the Agus I detachment of the 65th Infantry Battalion in Marawi City shortly after the ambuscade, he said.
Dr. Macapado Muslim, MSU president, ordered the indefinite suspension of classes for the safety of over 10,000 students in the more than 500-hectare university campus here.
In his initial report, Lucero identified two of the attackers as Otik Awar and Satar who, according to him, were “close relatives of an influential Marawi politician.“
He said the ambush was the fourth in a series of attacks against Army soldiers by alleged henchmen of the politician after the 10-day voters’ list cleansing process in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
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