1 dead, 6 wounded in Philippines sea clash

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — A Philippine navy patrol clashed 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.

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, military spokesman Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala said.

The pre-dawn clash later 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 located 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 city.

but officials said the skirmishes have been confined so far to Rio Hondo, where at least one policeman was wounded in sporadic gunbattles.

The Moro group signed a 1996 peace accord with the government but many of its fighters held on to their arms and accused officials of reneging on a promise to develop an

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