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Gunbattle erupts between AFP troops, Kato force in Central Mindanao
[April 20, 2009]

Gunbattle erupts between AFP troops, Kato force in Central Mindanao

CAMP PANACAN, Apr 19, 2009 (Asia Pulse Data Source via COMTEX) -- ? Undetermined number of rogue Lawless Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Group (LMG) fighters were believed killed or wounded when a gunbattle erupted Saturday morning between government security forces and LMGs in Central Mindanao, a sketchy report reaching the area command and tactical operation center of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) here on Sunday stated.

A flash report received by the AFP?s Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMincom) based in Davao Gulf from Central Mindanao 6th Infantry (Kampilan) Division also stated that wanted Ameril Umbra Kato, commander of MILF?s 105th Base Command was allegedly sighted in the battle site.

The sketchy report of 6th ?Kampilan? Division also corroborated the report of Central Mindanao Police Regional Office that ?Kato? was also seen at the battle site Saturday morning.

Police report also said Commanders Ayunan and Tundok, alleged field commanders of Kato, were also seen at the battle site in Barangay Halingao.

However, both Army and police reports did not indicate the exact number of casualties on the LMG?s side.

No casualty was also reported on the government side.

The elusive wanted Umbra Kato has been the object of a massive manhunt since August last year after he was accused of allegedly leading separatist MILF guerrillas in attacking 15 areas in North Cotabato and some areas in Mindanao that left scores of innocent civilians and police and military personnel dead and wounded.

Maj. Gen. Raymundo Ferrer, area command chief of EastMincom ordered a continuing hunt without let up against Kato and his men so that peace and development will go back in some areas in Central Mindanao.

Another fugitive, ?Commander Bravo? in Lanao provinces is also being currently hunted by the joint forces of the AFP and PNP.

Commander Bravo is also being accused of invading by force some towns in Lanao del Norte last August of that same year where many innocent civilians were also killed and wounded. (PNA)

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