Manila: Suspected communist
guerrillas seized a passenger bus on Wednesday then opened fire on
pursuing government forces in a running gun battle that killed
at least four people in a province east of Manila.
At least five New People`s Army rebels boarded the bus
in Quezon province`s San Francisco town after aborting a plan
to attack its police station due to the presence of government
security forces, regional military spokesman Generoso Bolina
When police learned of the rebel presence in the bus,
they gave chase aboard a patrol car, firing warning shots as
the guerrillas sporadically shot at them with rifles and
pistols. The bus rammed through a wooden blockade set up by
police, Bolina said.
The driver, a gun pointed at his head by one of the
rebels, lost control of the bus before reaching a road blocked
by army trucks in Quezon`s Catanauan town. The bus smashed on
a tree and three of the gunmen jumped out and fled, firing at
troops, he said.
A fourth rebel was shot and killed by troops in the
bus and another was captured. At least one passenger was
wounded, Bolina said.
Three other people lay dead in the bus after the
exchange of fire. Police investigators were trying to
determine if the three, who included two women, were Maoist
guerrillas or passengers.
"The passengers really got scared all along as
gunshots rang out," Bolina told The Associated Press by
The Philippines` 41-year Marxist rebellion has been
one of Asia`s longest and bloodiest. More than 120,000
combatants and civilians have died in the rural-based