MANILA — A Philippine navy patrol battled early Monday with suspected Muslim rebels aboard several boats off southern Zamboanga city in a fierce clash that killed one naval special forces member and wounded six others, military officials said.
The navy men clashed with about 100 suspected Moro National Liberation Front rebels, who were on board a large motorboat and eight smaller vessels off Rio Hondo, a crowded Muslim community in the port city of Zamboanga, said Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala, a military spokesman.
The predawn clash spilled into Rio Hondo as people slept, prompting scores of residents to flee, Zagala said. Reinforcement troops and police have been deployed to help secure Rio Hondo, which is near the downtown area of Zamboanga.
U.S. counterterrorism forces that have been providing training to Filipino troops for years are based in a Philippine military camp in Zamboanga.
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