Philippine troops and Muslim rebels clashed in two remote southern villages despite a 2003 cease-fire, leaving one soldier dead, officials said Tuesday.
The fighting erupted Monday night in Midsayap, a rural town of about 100,000 people about 890 kilometers (550 miles) south of Manila, with the army and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front accusing each other of starting the gunfire.
About 300 rebels simultaneously attacked two military detachments with rocket-propelled grenades and 81 mm mortars, said Lt. Col. Julieto Ando, the 6th Infantry Division spokesman. He said one soldier was killed, two wounded and more than 200 villagers scampered to safety as the fighting raged overnight into Tuesday.
Army Col. Diosdado Carreon said soldiers used artillery to push the guerrillas toward the nearby Liguasan marshland.