Philippine troops kill 6 communist rebels in clash that is latest blow to insurgents
By: Associated Press
MANILA, Philippines — Philippine government forces killed at least six
communist rebels in the latest in a string of recent battle losses for the
insurgents, the military said Wednesday.
Troops backed by police were checking reports about armed men in a
village in Tarlac province’s Camiling township late Tuesday when they were
fired upon by New People’s Army guerrillas, said army Col. Henry Sabarre.
The fighting ended early Wednesday with six rebels, including one female,
Sabarre said an earlier count of seven deaths was wrong.
One wounded guerrilla later came out of hiding near the clash site and
surrendered to the soldiers, fearing he would die from loss of blood from
his injury, said Brig. Gen. Hernando Irriberi.
Sabarre said the recovery of a machine gun and other high-caliber weapons
indicated “a top (rebel) personality is in the area.” The slain rebels were
not immediately identified, he said.
The rebel band was part of a larger group that operates in Tarlac,
President Benigno Aquino III’s home province, and adjacent provinces, he
“We have been conducting a series of combat operations in these areas for
so long now, side by side with our peace and development teams,” he said.
“At the end of the day, these insurgents will have no more room to hide and
eventually fall into the hands of our law.”
Military chief of staff Gen. Emmanuel Bautista said early this month that
government troops remain on track to meet a target of eradicating one of
Asia’s longest-running insurgencies by the time Aquino steps down in 2016.
At least 14 guerrillas, including a regional officer of the underground
Communist Party, were killed in clashes earlier this month in the central
and southern Philippines.
Separately Wednesday, the Maoist rebels freed five soldiers they abducted
on June 17 in the outskirts of southern Davao city, regional military
spokesman Capt. Severino David said.
The guerrillas turned over the soldiers to Davao City Mayor Rodrigo
Duterte, who then brought the five to a military camp by helicopter.
Families of the soldiers, who were seized as they were picking up food for a
community feeding project, had appealed to the guerrillas to release them
Military spokesman Brig. Gen. Domingo Tutaan said releasing the soldiers
would not absolve the guerrillas of possible kidnapping and human rights
Talks to end the 44-year insurgency, which has been fueled largely by
rural poverty and injustice, have collapsed and the military has intensified
Recent efforts to revive the talks brokered by Norway failed after the
rebels rejected an immediate cease-fire.
The rebels accuse successive Philippine administrations of subservience
to U.S. interests and failing to improve the lives of the poor. Their
numbers have dwindled from a peak of about 25,000 in the mid-1980s to an
estimated 4,000 fighters amid battle setbacks, surrenders and factionalism.
They are listed as a terrorist organization by the U.S. and European Union
Source: Associated Press, (July 31, 2013)