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7 Filipino soldiers slain in separatist attack

  • Story Highlights
  • Military: A faction of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) carries out attack
  • Soldiers had been deployed after reports that faction gathering
  • Soldiers encounter at least 50 separatists
  • MILF is the country's largest Muslim separatist group
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(CNN) -- Seven soldiers were killed Friday when they were attacked by Muslim separatists in the southern Philippines, the military said.

The morning attack was carried out by a faction of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), said Maj. Randolph Cabangbang.

Fourteen soldiers had been deployed on a security mission after Army intelligence reports indicated that Lawless MILF Groups (LMG) were amassing in Mamasapano in the province of Maguindanao, Cabangbang said.

The soldiers, aboard armored vehicles, encountered at least 50 LMG members, he said.

It was not known if any LMG were killed in the attack, and Cabangbang said the guerillas were at-large.

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the country's largest Muslim separatist group, has fought for decades for an independent Islamic state in the southern Philippines.

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