15 Killed as Hundreds of Troops Battle Rebels
MANILA, Philippines (AP) _ Hundreds of communist rebels fought troops north of the capital in a two- day battle that left 15 dead and scores wounded, the government news agency said today.
Also today, the military reported four soldiers and a young girl died in a rebel attack in the central Visaya islands.
The Philippines News Agency reported about 400 troops backed by helicopter gunships were fighting some 300 New Peoples Army guerrillas in the mountains of eastern Bulacan province on Luzon island.
It said the battles began Sunday during a sweep of the area by the government forces. There were three clashes this morning, each lasting about 90 minutes, as the rebels retreated, the agency said. They broke out between the towns of Remedios Trinidad and San Ildefonso.
By tonight, members of a scout rangers army regiment and a paramilitary Philippines Constabulary unit were advancing on a 100-acre rebel training camp near San Ildefonso, 30 miles north of the capital, the agency quoted military reports as saying.
It said 15 rebels were killed and scores were wounded, most in attacks by army helicopters. The Philippines News Agency put the government casualties at two wounded.
About 400 people have been killed in fighting across the nation since February when a cease-fire between the government and the guerrillas expired. The communist rebellion began 18 years ago.
The military said rebels attacked an army camp today in northern Negros Occidental province in the Visaya islands, killing four soldiers and a young girl.
It said an undetermined number of rebels attacked the 57th Infantry Battalion camp in the town of Sagay, about 45 miles north of the provincial capital of Bacolid. The fighting lasted for nearly an hour.
The dead girl was the daughter of a soldier, the military said. It did not have her age or other details. Some of the troops’ families live with them at the camp.