Ten leftist New People’s Army (NPA) rebels and two government soldiers were killed during a firefight in northern Philippines on Thursday afternoon, an army official said Friday.

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Philippines
The Philippine army was on a combat operation in an eastern town of Quezon province when they caught up with about 30 rebels, said Randolph Cabangbang, commander of the Philippines Army’s 80th Infantry Battalion.

“It was a meeting engagement. Two of my men were killed and two more were wounded but the NPA lost a lot of men,” said Cabangbang.

Rhoderick Parayno, commander of the Philippine Army’s 2nd Infantry Division, said information revealed 10 rebels died in the fighting.

However, the government chief peace negotiator Silvestre Bello III said on Friday that the incident will not affect the revival of peace negotiations between the government and the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

“In a way, it will give us reason to doubt their sincerity but incidents like these should give us more reason to pursue the talks,” Bello told a local media.

The Philippine government and the CPP are set to resume peace negotiations in the Netherlands in April.

The NPA rebels have been trying to overthrow the government since 1969. The conflict peaked in the 1980s, under the government of former President Ferdinand Marcos.

The number of guerrillas dwindled from 26,000 in the mid-1980s to less than 4,000 this year, according to the Philippine military. Enditem

Source: Xinhua/NewsGhana.com.gh