Five Duterte guards hurt in sus­pected rebel at­tack

Muscat Daily - - WORLD -

Manila, Philip­pines - The Philip­pine gov­ern­ment’s peace talks with com­mu­nist rebels teetered near col­lapse on Wed­nes­day as Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte threat­ened to end ne­go­ti­a­tions af­ter sus­pected guer­ril­las shot and wounded five of his body­guards in an am­bush.

Aides said Duterte was not in the con­voy when gun­men opened fire on two Pres­i­den­tial Se­cu­rity Group ve­hi­cles on the south­ern is­land of Min­danao, where troops have also been bat­tling Is­lamic State group-in­spired gun­men for nearly two months.

‘The Pres­i­dent di­rected the gov­ern­ment panel... not to re­sume for­mal peace talks un­less the reds (rebels) agree to stop their at­tacks against gov­ern­ment troops in Min­danao,’ said a state­ment is­sued by the pres­i­den­tial palace.

The rebels have been in of­fand-on peace talks with the gov­ern­ment since Duterte, a self-de­scribed so­cial­ist, was elected last year. Both sides have since de­clared uni­lat­eral cease­fires, but these did not last.

Duterte sus­pended for­mal

peace talks in May af­ter both sides failed to re­solve a dis­pute over a rebel order for fight­ers to step up at­tacks.

On Tues­day, Duterte sep­a­rately or­dered ne­go­tia­tors to in­for­mally meet com­mu­nist coun­ter­parts in Europe in the com­ing days and raise the is­sue, Dureza told ABS-CBN tele­vi­sion a day later.

But Duterte’s peace ad­vi­sor Je­sus Dureza later an­nounced that the gov­ern­ment was also can­celling the planned in­for­mal talks with the rebels due to Wed­nes­day’s at­tacks by the com­mu­nists’ 4,000-mem­ber armed wing the New Peo­ple’s Army.

The com­mu­nist party, which is wag­ing Asia’s long­est-run­ning in­sur­gency, called on its guer­ril­las on Tues­day to launch of­fen­sives in re­sponse to Duterte’s plan to put Min­danao un­der mar­tial law un­til the end of the year.

Min­danao is al­ready un­der a 60-day mar­tial rule as the se­cu­rity forces bat­tle mil­i­tants in Marawi city, but on Tues­day the Duterte gov­ern­ment said it needed more time to ac­com­plish the mis­sion.

“The sit­u­a­tion on the ground nec­es­sary to pro­vide the de­sired en­abling en­vi­ron­ment for the con­duct of peace ne­go­ti­a­tions are still not present up to this time,” Dureza said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Oman

© PressReader. All rights reserved.