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MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATE - 6:40 p.m.) Three soldiers were killed and 10 others wounded when a group of heavily-armed men ambushed a group of soldiers at the Mindanao State University (MSU) grounds Wednesday night, an Army official said. A 10-year old child was also killed and three other civilians wounded in the incident.
Col. Daniel Lucero, commander of the 103rd Infantry Brigade, said the civilians were onboard a vehicle behind the Army truck when it was attacked by what he described as “close relatives” of an influential Marawi politician.
He said the 14-man patrol of the 65th Infantry Battalion led by Lt. Col. Siegred Espina were on board a KM 450 truck when they were fired upon by an undetermined number of gunmen in the MSU campus grounds at around 9 p.m.
The soldiers traded gunfire with the armed men for about 30 minutes.
Three soldiers were killed while 10 others were wounded in the attack. The wounded personnel were promptly brought to a local hospital for treatment.
Lucero has launched pursuit operations on the suspects.
Authorities said the attack could be in retaliation for the unit's anti-illegal logging operations.
The unit is also actively involved in anti-illegal drug campaign in coordination with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and the local police.
The 9th Infantry Division has started processing the financial benefits due the families of the slain soldiers.