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Filipino communist rebels detonate mines; 16 hurt

March 3, 2014

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Philippine communist rebels using land mines have wounded 11 troops and five civilians in the south of the country, military officials said Monday.

Army Col. Marcos Norman Flores, Jr, a brigade commander in the area, condemned the attacks as a violation of international humanitarian law.

New People’s Army guerrillas encountered troops Sunday morning in Davao del Sur province, triggering an hour-long clash. As troops maneuvered, the rebels exploded a land mine, wounding 11 soldiers, a military statement said. It quoted villagers as saying the rebels carried away four dead colleagues.

The guerrillas later set off a land mine as three ambulances were heading to evacuate injured troops, wounding five civilian volunteers.

The rebellion began in the late 1960s with a ragtag group armed with a few rifles. The movement peaked during the repressive years under dictator Ferdinand Marcos with several thousand full-time guerrillas.

Though it remains one of the world’s longest-running Marxist insurgencies, the rebel movement has grown considerably weaker in recent years due to battle setbacks, surrenders and factionalism. They remain a national security concern.

Talks to end the rebellion have stalled since 2011 due to disagreements between the government and guerrillas over the release of several jailed rebel leaders.

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