MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Clashes between government troops and communist rebels have killed seven people and wounded 17, military officials said Monday.
The government and the rebels resumed talks in February to end one of Asia’s longest-running Marxist rebellions, but clashes have continued in the countryside.
Maj. Gen. Emmanuel Bautista, an army division commander, quoted field reports as saying six rebels were killed and 11 others wounded and subsequently captured in two clashes Saturday in central Negros Oriental province. A soldier was slightly wounded.
Bautista said the first clash broke out early Saturday in Pamplona township’s Banawe village. The New People’s Army rebels withdrew after a 40-minute gunfight, leaving behind their two dead and five wounded comrades.
Some 10 hours later, soldiers caught up with the fleeing guerrillas in the same village of Banawe, sparking another battle that killed four rebels and wounded six others.
Bautista said the rebel fighters were under the command of Marilyn Badayos, a guerrilla front leader arrested on Saturday in a hotel in the adjacent province Negros Occidental while recuperating from a gunshot wound sustained during a clash with troops in May.
Lt. Col. Lyndon Paniza, an army spokesman, says on the same day in southern Compostela Valley province’s Pantukan township, a soldier was killed and five others were wounded when troops on combat operation clashed with around 70 guerrillas.
Paniza said the rebels also suffered casualties, but their number was unknown.