Filipino rebels attack second southern town
ZAMBOANGA, Philippines (AP) - Philippine troops battled Muslim rebels on two fronts on Thursday, after the insurgents attacked a second town near the southern port where they are holding scores of residents hostage in a standoff with government forces.
The rebels attacked predominantly Christian outskirts of Lamitan town in Basilan province on Thursday morning, said Vice Mayor Roderick Furigay. Five people were missing and two wounded, he said.
A regional governor, Mujiv Hataman, said that the assault was repulsed. Authorities said earlier they were monitoring the movement of rebel forces in that area and Hataman said that residents had already evacuated on Wednesday.
Basilan island province is a boat ride away from Zamboanga city, where Moro National Liberation Front fighters have been holding their hostage since Monday, when government troops repulsed their attempt to erect a rebel flag at city hall.