Thu, Dec 04, 2008 - Page 5 News List

Five soldiers killed in guerrilla ambush in south Philippines

AFP AND DPA , MANILA AND BUTUAN, PHILIPPINES

Five soldiers were killed and four wounded in a communist guerrilla ambush in the southern Philippines after a fresh attempt to restart peace talks collapsed, authorities said yesterday.

New People’s Army (NPA) rebels set off land mines as the soldiers’ truck passed near Lianga town on Tuesday, according to police and military reports.

The rebels also stopped a bus and used the vehicle to block reinforcements from reaching the ambush site, they said.

In a statement issued yesterday, the Communist Party of the Philippines, the political leadership of the NPA, said the global financial turmoil would strengthen their forces and weaken the Philippine government.

“If the US and other global centers of capitalism are staggered by financial crisis and certain depression, how much more their semicolonies like the Philippines,” it said.

The National Democratic Front (NDF), an arm of the communists, said fresh attempts to reopen peace talks between the government and the rebels collapsed in Oslo, Norway, last week.

The NDF said it rejected a government demand for a “prolonged ceasefire” before talks could resume.

Meanwhile, a Filipino broadcast journalist was shot dead in the eastern Philippines in the seventh deadly attack against media in the country this year, police said yesterday.

Leo Mina was shot in front of the local radio station in San Roque town in Northern Samar province, 585km southeast of Manila, on Tuesday evening.

Regional police direction Abner Cabalquinto said Mina had just exited the station when unidentified gunmen opened fire at him.

He said police were looking into the possibility that communist rebels could be behind the murder, noting that Mina was very vocal against the guerrillas’ extortion activities in the province.

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