Philippines: 14 communist rebels killed in clash with troops
MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Fourteen communist rebels were killed and another was wounded in a clash with Philippine troops south of the capital, officials said Wednesday, days after President Rodrigo Duterte officially terminated peace talks with insurgents and told the military to prepare for violent confrontations with the guerrillas.
Army Maj. Mikko Magisa said soldiers on a combat operation clashed Tuesday night with a group of rebels in Nasugbu town, around 70 kilometers (43 miles) south of Manila. After a 20-minute gunbattle, soldiers recovered the bodies of 13 rebels.
Two wounded rebels were brought to hospital, where one of them died, said Magisa, executive officer of the Army’s 202nd Brigade. The guerrillas’ death toll is the biggest in recent months. Five soldiers were injured in the fighting.
The communist rebellion in the Philippines has raged for 48 years, making it one of Asia’s longest. Peace negotiations between the insurgents and Duterte’s administration were earlier suspended due to sporadic clashes. Duterte formally terminated the talks on Nov. 23 and warned troops to prepare for “virulent confrontations” with the rebels.
Duterte said he will treat the rebels as terrorists and criminals, and throw their leaders in jail.