Communist attacks kill 6 in Mindanao
MANILA, Philippines—A string of attacks by communist rebels in Mindanao killed six people, including five security personnel, as the guerrillas pressured the government to release jailed comrades, officials said Wednesday.
Two special forces soldiers ambushed while en route to secure a government convoy were among those killed in seven attacks Tuesday initiated by the New People’s Army rebels in eastern Mindanao Island, said military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Leopoldo Galon.
Another soldier, a policeman, a government militiaman and a village leader also died in the separate attacks. Two guerrillas were wounded and captured after raiding a police outpost in the Davao Oriental provincial capital, Mati City, Galon said.
The government and the rebels in February resumed talks to end one of Asia’s longest-running Marxist rebellions. But they have failed to agree on a truce, with the rebels keeping up assaults on remote police and army posts.
Chief rebel negotiator Luis Jalandoni last week called for the postponement of talks scheduled for this month until jailed guerrillas who he said were consultants in the negotiations are freed from government detention.
He also accused the military of maltreating some of the detainees, a charge officials denied.
The detainees include Tirso Alcantara, a senior rebel commander who was arrested early this year.
Presidential peace process adviser Teresita Deles has earlier refused to release him, saying his name did not appear on a list of guerrilla negotiators covered by an agreement granting them immunity from prosecution. He is also facing 23 warrants for murder.
The rebels are estimated to have about 4,000 fighters, down from about 25,000 during their heyday in the 1970s and ’80s, when they fought against the dictatorship of late president Ferdinand Marcos.
Extortion activities and attacks that have stunted rural development have prompted the US and European governments to place the rebels on their lists of terrorist organizations.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.