Forty-three people were killed in intense fighting between police commandos and Muslim insurgents in the southern Philippines Sunday, placing strains on a peace process designed to end decades of conflict in the restive region, SIA reports with reference to the CNN.
The majority of the losses were on the government side, with 37 members of the elite Special Action Force unit of the Philippine National Police killed, police said in a statement.
Six militants were killed and 11 wounded in the clashes, which raged for 12 hours in Mamasapano town, Maguindanao, police said.
Members of both the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), with whom the government has signed a peace agreement, and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), with whom it has not, were involved in the firefight, officials and rebel groups said.
Grisly footage purporting to be of the aftermath of the battle was circulated online, showing uniformed bodies strewn in a rice field.