COTABATO, the Philippines, April 26 (Xinhua) -- At least nine rebels were killed and 13 guerrilla camps were demolished as Filipino security forces launched week-long artillery and ground assaults against Muslim guerrillas in the restive south, a local military spokesman said Sunday.
Lt. Col. Jonathan Ponce, spokesman of the Army's 6th Infantry Division, said nine rebels have been killed, including three being neutralized on Sunday, in the military operations villages of Maguinadanao province, a strong-hold of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the country's largest rebel group.
Ponce said a total of 43 assorted firearms, including four mortars and rifles were also recovered.
The military unleashed artillery fires at rebel positions in Maguindanao starting last April 18 following reports of presence of MILF sub-commander Ameril Umbra Kato, who has 283,949-U.S.-dollar bounties on his head for launching fatal attacks to Christian communities in Muslim Mindanao last August.
Ponce said there is no casualty on the government side.
Peace talks between the government and the 11,800-member MILF collapsed in August 2008 after the two sides failed to sign an agreement on ancestral domain. MILF rebel commanders, including Kato, to raided Christian villages in protest, prompting the government to fight back. The escalated clashes left scores civilians dead and hundreds of thousands of others displaced.