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American Woman Wounded In Ambush, Filipino Companion Dead

June 10, 1988

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (AP) _ Gunmen wounded an American woman and killed her Filipino companion in an ambush on the outskirts of this southern city on Thursday, police said.

In other developments, communist rebels stormed a Philippine army post near the U.S.-run Subic Bay naval base and workers in Manila prepared to exhume bodies from a mass grave believed to contain victims of right-wing ″death squads.″

Anne Theresa O’Neill, 57, a former Peace Corps volunteer, was rushed to a hospital with wounds in the head and and other parts of the body, while Fernando Blanco died at the scene, said police in Zamboanga City.

Blanco was the city’s waterworks chief and an old friend of Miss O’Neill, a native of Chicago.

Police said Blanco was driving his car with Miss O’Neill beside him to the city from the water reservoir at Pasonanca Park when a car blocked their way. A gunman stepped out of the other car and sprayed Blanco’s car with automatic gunfire, police said.

Staff at the Brent Hospital in Zamboanga, 540 miles southeast of Manila, refused to disclose the nature of Miss O’Neill’s injuries, but the government’s news agency reported doctors as saying she was out of danger.

The agency said Miss O’Neill suffered gunshot wounds in the face and arms.

Communist rebels aboard seven trucks stormed a Philippine army post 20 miles east of the Subic Bay base Thursday evening, killing seven troops and wounding two others, the military said Friday.

Two rebels were killed and two soldiers were missing, the military added.

The guerrillas attacked a detachment of the army’s 1st General Headquarters Battalion in Orani, located on the Bataan peninsula about 30 miles west of Manila.

Officials said the rebels withdrew after the raid and pursuit operations were under way Friday.

The Bataan peninsula has become a stronghold of the rebel New People’s Army, which has been waging a 19-year insurgency to establish a Marxist state.

In Manila, more than 100 workers, relatives and human rights activists prepared Friday to exhume bodies from a mass grave which they said may contain victims of right-wing death squads.

The church-backed Ecumenical Movement for Justice and Peace said at least a dozen bodies were mysteriously buried in April in unmarked graves in the South Cemetery of Manila.

Movement officials obtained a court order authorizing exhumation of the bodies to determine if they were members of the left-wing Youth for Democracy and Nationalism who have been reported missing.

Health officials said the exhumation was to begin later Friday.

The wife of the cemetery caretaker told reporters Friday her husband, Rogelio Royolada, 47, was missing since he left their home Wednesday.

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