Philippine Maoist rebels kill soldier in clash

DAVAO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Jan.8, 2011) – One government soldier was killed in a clash Saturday with communist rebels in the restive southern Philippine region of Mindanao, officials said.

Officials said the fighting broke out in Compostela Valley’s Mabini town after patrolling soldiers ran into a group of New People’s Army rebels. “The fire fight lasted for about 30 minutes,” said Lieutenant Colonel Medel Aguilar, a spokesman for the Army’s 10th Infantry Division.

It was not immediately if there were rebels killed or wounded in the fighting, but Aguilar said the security operations in the province thwarted whatever violent activity the New People’s Army was planning to conduct that will threaten the safety and lives of the civilians.

On Thursday, rebels also killed three soldiers in a clash in Davao del Norte’s Tagum City. Aguilar said the trio was on their way to a peace and development program in the village of Magdum when ambushed by the gunmen.

The fighting erupted shortly after both the New People’s Army and Manila ended a 19-day Christmas truce ahead of a planned peace talks this year.

The rebels have been demanding the release of two senior leaders Edwin Brigano and Tirso Alcantara captured by the military in Mindanao and Luzon Islands.

The New People’s Army is the armed wing of the underground Communist Party of the Philippines which is waging secessionist war for decades now. President Benigno Aquino said he would resume peace talks with the rebels in an effort to put an end to communist insurgency in the country.

Peace talks collapsed in 2004 after rebels accused then President Gloria Arroyo of reneging on several agreements, among them the release of all political prisoners in the country. (Mindanao Examiner)

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