Muslim militants killed in Philippines

Four Muslim militants have been killed in a clash with government soldiers in the Philippines
Four Muslim militants have been killed in a clash with government soldiers in the Philippines

Four suspected Muslim militants have been killed in a clash with government soldiers in the southern Philippines, an army commander says.

The militants were among a group that occupied a part of a public market in the town of Datu Paglas in Maguindanao province, 960km south of Manila, at the weekend, said Major General Juvymax Uy, an army infantry division commander.

The firefight broke out in the village of Talingko in the outskirts of Datu Paglas, where soldiers encountered almost 50 militants, he added.

The two-hour clash left four militants killed, Uy said.

On Saturday, the militants occupied a part of the public market in Datu Paglas as they fled an offensive by the military. They left the area after six hours when more soldiers arrived.

No civilians or soldiers were killed or hurt in Saturday's incident.

The militants were members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighter, a splinter group of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, which signed a peace agreement with the government in 2014.

It has allied itself with the Islamic State militant group and has been blamed for bombings, extortion and attacks on government troops in the province of Maguindanao.

Australian Associated Press