Communist guerrillas have killed at least 10 soldiers in an ambush in the northern Philippines, in one of the most audacious rebel attacks in recent years.
The New People’s Army (NPA), the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), ambushed a three-vehicle army convoy in a remote village in Ifugao province, north of Luzon Island, early Wednesday, the Associated Press reports.
An army captain was among the dead, and at least one civilian, a female who played in a military brass band, was also killed during the three-hour-long attack.
Army spokesman Colonel Loreto Maguddayao told the Agence France Presse: “This is considered one of the most daring attacks by the NPA in this area in recent years.”
Major-General Rommel Gomez, army commander of the northern Philippines, denounced the guerrillas as “terrorists” and said the army is on “pursuit operations.”
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The CPP and NPA have been conducting an insurgency against the Philippine government for over four decades, with the rebels concentrating their campaign in rural areas and small-scale attacks on military forces.
According to the BBC, the NPA is listed on the Foreign Terrorist Organization list of the US State Department, with an estimated 4,700 fighters continuing to operate mainly in the most impoverished areas of the Philippines.
Peace negotiations between the government and the communists have taken place sporadically over the years, but have stalled since last year after talks brokered by Norway collapsed over a rebel demand that several captured guerrillas be released.
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