DAVAO CITY, Philippines - Two soldiers were killed when Muslim rebels attacked a government hospital in southern Philippines on Wednesday night, the military said on Thursday.
Four gunmen slipped past security as a patient was wheeled in at Maguindanao Provincial Hospital in Sharif Aguak town, in Mindanao's restive Maguindanao province past 8:30 pm local time, said Colonel Dickson Hermoso, spokesperson of the army's 6th Infantry Division.
The assailants then opened fire at two soldiers guarding the facility, killing them. The gunmen, believed to be members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), then fled with the slain soldiers' rifles, Hermoso told local media.
He said pursuit operations were being launched against the perpetrators as security was being beefed up at the hospital.
The BIFF is the armed wing of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement (BIFM), a violent faction which had broken off from the 11,000-strong Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) that is now engaging on talks for an autonomous region with the Philippine government, in the predominantly Christian southern island of Mindanao.