Eleven US soldiers have died in thePhilippines since 2002 when Washington began deploying troops to help fight terrorism, a regional military commander said Saturday, dpa reported.
Lieutenant General Ben Dolorfino said the US soldiers did not die in actual combat operations but were killed in an accident and bomb attacks.
The Philippine constitution prohibits foreign troops from conducting or joining in combat operations within the country’s territory.
Dolorfino said seven of the US fatalities died in a helicopter crash in the sea off the central Philippine city of Dumaguete in 2002, while four were killed in separate bombings in Zamboanga in 2002 and Jolo island in 2009.
Hundreds of US troops remain stationed in Zamboanga City, 875 kilometres south of Manila, where they train their Filipino counterparts in anti-terrorism operations.
Zamboanga city is close to Basilan and Jolo islands, a stronghold of the al-Qaeda-linked Muslim Abu Sayyaf rebels who have been responsible for deadly terrorist attacks and high-profile kidnappings in the Philippines.