Gunmen kill four at university in the southern Philippines

MARAWI CITY, PHILIPPINES (BNO NEWS) -- Heavily armed gunmen ambushed an army patrol at a university in the southern Philippines on late Wednesday evening, triggering a 30-minute gunfight in which three soldiers and a young child were killed, military officials said on Thursday.

The incident began at around 9 p.m. local time on Wednesday when an unknown number of gunmen opened fire at an army truck which was carrying out a routine security patrol at the campus of the state-run Mindanao State University, located in Marawi City in the southern province of Lanao del Sur.

Military officials said the army truck was carrying fourteen service members from the 65th Infantry Battalion, who returned fire at the attackers. The gunfight continued for about half an hour before the unidentified gunmen fled, although it was not known if they suffered casualties.

Lieutenant Colonel Siegred Espina said three soldiers were killed while ten other service members were injured and rushed to a local hospital for treatment. A 10-year-old was killed when the child was caught in the crossfire, and two other civilians were also wounded during the incident.

It was not immediately known who was behind the attack, but authorities said they were investigating whether the unit's recent operations against illegal logging in the region may have been a motive. The unit was also actively involved in operations against illegal drugs in the area.

Lanao del Sur is one of five provinces under the Muslim autonomous region in Mindanao.

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