Four soldiers were killed on Monday in a shoot-out with police officers in the southern Philippines, officials said.
The military has called for an investigation into the incident amid conflicting reports on how the soldiers were killed in Jolo town, 1,000 km south of Manila.
“They were doing their job, they were on an official mission,” said Lieutenant Colonel Cirilito Sobejana, a regional military commander.
According to a police report, the soldiers were asked to proceed to a nearby station to verify their identities after they were accosted for carrying firearms.
At the station, the soldiers pointed their firearms at police officers when they disembarked, the report added.
“However, before they could pull the trigger, the police personnel were able to shoot them in defence, thus an exchange of gunfire ensued which resulted to the death of the four armed men,” the report said.
Interior Secretary Eduardo Ano has directed the national police chief to disarm the officers involved and restrict them under the custody of the provincial director while undergoing investigation.
“This is a very unfortunate incident that should have not happened,” he said. “The military and the police have been working closely in the fight against the terrorists.”
Edited By: Isaac Aregbesola (NAN)