COTABATO, Philippines: Muslim guerrillas from a breakaway faction have killed two soldiers in a wave of small bomb attacks in the southern Philippines, the military said Tuesday.
The blasts were claimed by the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), a guerrilla faction being hunted by the military after the government signed a peace treaty in March with the main Muslim rebel group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
"If they (military operations) will not stop, we will bring our battle in other areas, including cities," BIFF spokesman Abu Misry Mama said in a call to a local journalist.
A roadside bomb planted by the BIFF exploded on Monday as a military convoy passed through the town of Datu Unsay on the southern island of Mindanao, killing two soldiers, said Colonel Dickson Hermoso, the area's military spokesman.
Four other soldiers were wounded, he added.
Three other improvised explosive devices either exploded harmlessly or were disarmed in the region Monday and Tuesday, Hermoso added.
He said the bombings were an a BIFF riposte to a military operation that killed 53 guerrillas in late January.
"They waited... and now, they exact vengeance," he told AFP.
He said the BIFF was still trying to disrupt the peace accord with the mainstream group.
The BIFF broke away several years ago from the 12,000-strong MILF, which has abandoned its fight for a separate Islamic state in the southern Philippines in exchange for the creation of a Muslim autonomous area.
While security was tight in the south, "a small group can sow chaos by placing improvised explosive devices", Hermoso said.
"These groups don't care who they hit. They have no rules of engagement. Their bombs are addressed, 'to whom it may concern'," he added. (AFP)