The World Bank has decided to give Benin a total of 85 million U.S. dollars to fund three development projects, a statement from the financial institution said on Friday. "The money will enable local councils to provide essential services, improve the business environment and facilitate youths to access employment," the statement pointed out. The first disbursement of 30 million dollars will go towards funding of the ongoing decentralization program by the local councils. "The additional resources will be used for the construction of schools to host about 90,000 pupils and enable about 18,000 people to have access to clean drinking water," the same statement affirmed, adding that in total, 270,000 people will directly benefit from the project between now and 2017. The second loan of 20 million dollars will go towards reduction of poverty and acceleration of economic growth, while the third loan of 35 million dollars will be spent on creation of jobs for Benin's youths. "The third project will focus on enabling youth to acquire new skills in sectors such as small commercial activities, agribusiness and tourism," the World Bank statement concluded. 2 soldiers killed, 3 wounded in landmine blasts in south Philippines DAVAO CITY, Philippines, March 15 (Xinhua) -- Two government soldiers died, while three others got injured in a series of landmine blasts as they were fighting with the leftist rebels in southern Philippines on Saturday morning, the military said later in the day. Captain Ernest Carolina, spokesperson for the Philippine Army's 10th Infantry Division, said that soldiers on the hunt for New People's Army (NPA) guerrillas who last Monday attacked Matanao, a town in southern Philippine province of Davao del Sur province, chanced upon an undetermined number of NPA insurgents at Manobisa village, Magpet town in Mindanao's North Cotabato province, sparking a fierce gun battle around 9:55 a.m.. "Two government troops were killed in action while three others wounded after NPA landmines went off nearby the soldiers during their maneuvers," said Carolina, adding that pursuit operations continued against the insurgents who fled an hour after the fighting. The military spokesperson said they were still determining whether the insurgents also suffered casualties in the fighting. Philippine authorities have stepped up their operations in hunting down those responsible for last Monday's coordinated attacks at a police station and an army outpost in Matanao, which left 10 soldiers and police, and two insurgents dead and a dozen others wounded. Nine suspected insurgents have been arrested by now. The 4,000-strong NPA, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, has been fighting a leftist insurgency since 1969.