At least nine people have been killed in attacks by Islamic rebels in the Philippines on Christmas Day.
According to the Christian Post, conflict between the Islamic rebels and government forces occurred in three separate provinces across the country on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
Those killed include nine villagers who were gunned down by the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighter rebels. Military forces have in turn killed five of the rebels.
A military spokeswoman, Capt. Joan Petinglay, said that there were as many as 200 Islamic rebels carrying out the attacks.
Petinglay went on to say that many villagers continue to live in fear of further attacks. Some have taken refuge in a Catholic church nearby.
“Since (Saturday), it has been quiet. But the damage has been done. People on the outskirts are scared and at night, they move to the centre of the town," stated Colonel Ricky Bunayog. "I tell them we have enough security forces but they are too scared," he added.
Pope Francis has condemned the attacks and asked all Christians to reject violence in the name of God.
Publication date: December 28, 2015