Manila: Communist guerrillas attacked a dozen mostly rural army outposts, including in two provinces where officials have declared that the insurgents have been considerably weakened, the military said today.
New People's Army guerrillas fired on 11 army outposts and a police station on Monday in the northeastern provinces of Albay, Camarines Norte and Sorsogon, sparking a clash that killed one of the insurgents, regional military spokesman Maj Angelo Guzman said.
A police officer, a government militiaman and six villagers were wounded in the attacks.
Authorities have declared that the decades-long insurgency has been considerably weakened in recent months in Albay and Camarines Norte, allowing civilian officials to take charge of the anti-insurgency program from the military.
Army troops, however, have remained in those provinces to back up officials and police in battling the remaining insurgents.
Guzman said the attacks were a desperate effort by the insurgents to project a strong image after being crippled by years of military offensives.
They also wanted to retaliate following the deaths of seven guerrillas in recent clashes in the region, he said.
"These attacks were done for propaganda," Guzman said. "They were not meant to overrun these army detachments because they have been so weakened to do that."
In one of three attacks in Albay, the guerrillas fired a rifle grenade that missed army troops in Daraga town. The grenade instead hit a nearby house and wounded six villagers, including a child, Guzman said.
The Marxist insurgency has flared on and off for 46 years, one of the longest-running rebellions in Asia. Norway-brokered negotiations to end the fighting have stalled.