Filipino troops, rebels clash ahead of peace talks
Philippine troops killed a communist guerrilla and captured a rebel encampment in offensives launched despite a planned resumption of talks aimed at ending the 41-year Maoist rebellion, officials said Sunday.
Philippine officials and the rebels announced Friday they will hold preliminary talks in January to discuss a planned resumption of peace talks in late February in Norway, which has brokered past negotiations. The talks stalled in 2004. The two sides also agreed to observe a cease-fire from Dec. 16 to Jan. 3 during the Christmas and New Year holiday.
Despite the looming talks, army troops attacked about 20 New People’s Army guerrillas near a farming village in Pontevera town in central Capiz province late Saturday, killing a rebel and seizing two rifles. A soldier was wounded in the clash, army chief Lt. Gen. Arturo Ortiz said. The other guerrillas withdrew and were being pursued by troops, he said.
Army scout rangers separately seized a rebel encampment Friday in Northern Samar province, also in the central Philippines, but guerrillas abandoned the area before they arrived, regional military spokesman Lt. Col. Noel Vestuir said. Continue reading