Manila eyes truce with com­mu­nists:

Arab Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

The Philip­pine govern­ment said Sun­day that it would sus­pend of­fen­sives against com­mu­nist guer­ril­las to re­cip­ro­cate a sim­i­lar plan by the in­sur­gents and al­low troops to fo­cus on quelling a bloody siege by Is­lamic State group-aligned mil­i­tants that has dragged on for nearly a month in a south­ern city.

Philip­pine ne­go­tia­tor Sil­vestre Bello III said the govern­ment move aims to foster talks for a cease-fire ac­cord and a peace pact with New Peo­ple’s Army rebels. Troops have been bat­tling com­mu­nist and Mus­lim mil­i­tants si­mul­ta­ne­ously in the coun­try’s south.

De­spite the peace over­tures, Philip­pine troops killed five com­mu­nist rebels in sep­a­rate clashes in the south while the guer­ril­las stormed a po­lice sta­tion in a cen­tral town and seized a dozen as­sault ri­fles and pis­tols over the week­end, of­fi­cials said.

Three com­mu­nist guer­ril­las were killed in Davao Ori­en­tal prov­ince and two oth­ers died in Com­postela Val­ley in sep­a­rate clashes with army troops Satur­day, mil­i­tary of­fi­cials said.

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