Philippine troops kill 5 suspected rebels in clashes

Reading Time: < 1 minutes

Manila, May 25 (IANS) Five suspected communist rebels were killed on Tuesday in a clash with government troops in central Philippines, an army spokesman said.

Soldiers were on combat patrol when they encountered the guerrillas in a village in Bilar town in Bohol province, about 400 km south of Manila, dpa news agency quoted army Major Cenon Pancito as saying.

One soldier was wounded in the firefight, he added.

Troops were responding to reports by civilians of the presence of suspected communist rebels in the village when the clash erupted, Pancito said.

“Bohol was once declared as an insurgency-free province, but there is an effort on the part of the New People’s Army to recover Bohol,” he said.

“We are working together with the local government units and the public to thwart these efforts.”

The New People’s Army is the armed wing of the rebel Communist Party of the Philippines.

Pancito said the army also received intelligence reports that a group of rebels was planning to assassinate government forces and others allied with the government.

“It turned out the reports are true, and the troops caught the group based on documents seized from the slain rebels,” he added.

Communist rebels have been fighting the Philippine government since the late 1960s, making the movement one of the longest-running leftist insurgencies in Asia.

In November 2017, President Rodrigo Duterte terminated peace talks with the communist rebels amid unabated attacks by the guerrillas.

Efforts to resume the negotiations have so far failed.