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ILIGAN CITY – A government soldier was killed in a clash with Moro Islamic Liberation Front forces before dawn Sunday in Lanao del Sur’s Butig town in the restive Muslim autonomous region in southern Philippines, officials said.

Officials said dozens of MILF gunmen attacked army soldiers belonging to the Charlie Company of the 2nd Platoon under First Lieutenant Joseph Plumentra of the 51st Infantry Battalion in the village called Bayabao.

The attack triggered 6 hours of fighting that killed Corporal Julairin Tutuan.

The motive of the attack is unclear, but there had been increased clashes between MILF and military forces in the region after Congress thumbed down the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law earlier agreed by the Aquino government with rebel leaders.

The two sides signed an interim peace deal in 2014 that would pave the way for an expanded region for Muslims in Mindanao. Lawmakers, who opposed the BBL, said many provisions in the proposed laws were unconstitutional.

The MILF has repeatedly warned that violence may erupt if the BBL fails. (E. Dumaboc)

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