Nine soldiers injured in clash with leftist rebels
Nine soldiers were injured on Saturday in fresh fighting between the government troops and the leftist rebels in Samar province in central Philippines. Captain Francis Agno, a spokesman for a Philippine army infantry division in Samar province, said that an improvised explosive device went off while firefight was underway in a village of San Jorge town in Samar province around 6:50am on Saturday.
Captain Agno said the troops were on patrol when a brief firefight ensued. The nine soldiers suffered minor injuries in the blast, he added. According to the spokesperson, the New People’s Army (NPA) rebels may also have suffered casualties, adding that bloodstains were seen in their escape route.
The Philippine military said the NPA has an estimated 4000 members.
The rebels have been fighting the government since 1969 in one of Asia’s longest-running insurgencies. The Philippines government has been trying to forge peace with the leftist rebels since 1986, but the on-off talks have faltered many times in the past. President Rodrigo Duterte’s government has scrapped talks to solve the 50-year-old insurgency and declared a “full-scale war” against the rebel group which has been trying to overthrow the government for five decades.