Five killed in Philippines violence

Manila, Jan 29: Five people were killed during a clash Wednesday between government troops and members of the leftist rebel group New People’s Army (NPA) in southern Philippines, a military official said.

Provincial army commander Krishnamurti Mortela said four suspected members of the NPA and a soldier died in a firefight at Taocanga village in Manay town of Davao Oriental province at around 8.30 a.m, Xinhua reported.

Mortela said soldiers from the Philippine Army’s 67th Infantry Battalion were in the area to confirm reports from residents about the presence of suspected NPA gunmen in their community when the skirmish broke out.

“The (NPA) is attempting a comeback and to recover their former strongholds which were liberated by government forces in 2012. The locals are already resisting the rebels,” he said.

Mortela said a wounded male rebel was also captured and four assault rifles and an improvised landmine were recovered at the site of encounter.

He said pursuit operations have already been launched against the fleeing insurgents.

The 4,000-strong NPA, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, is fighting a leftist insurgency in 60 Philippine provinces since 1969.

IANS