Two dead as truce ends in Philippines
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Last Updated: Tuesday, January 03, 2012, 16:10
Manila: More than 50 communist rebels attacked an army patrol base in the southern Philippines on Tuesday, leaving one pro-government militiaman and a guerrilla dead in the clash, officials said.

The daring pre-dawn attack by the New People's Army (NPA) on the southern island of Mindanao was the first since an 18-day Yuletide truce declared by the government ended yesterday, the military said.

"The firefight lasted (for) almost five hours after which the attacking enemy withdrew," regional military spokesman Colonel Leopoldo Galon said, adding that both sides lost a fighter each.

A soldier and a civilian were wounded in the attack, the military said, adding that two rifles were captured from the rebels.

The attack came on the same day that the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), the NPA's mother organisation, reiterated a demand for the government to release detained senior rebel leaders.

The CPP-NPA has waged a rebellion since 1969 in what is one of Asia's longest running communist insurgencies.

Peace talks with the communists reached an impasse after Manila in November rejected CPP demands to free 18 jailed guerrillas it said were consultants to its negotiating team.

Rebel spokesman Elmo Guevarra warned rebel forces would step up attacks this year with an aim of achieving "bigger revolutionary victories."


First Published: Tuesday, January 03, 2012, 16:10

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