Rebels Kill Government Militiamen in Philippine Clashes
Violence rears its head again in Asia as two government militia men were killed in a gunfight with Communist Rebels in an Eastern Philippine province, according to a military spokesperson.
According to the Army, government troops had been on patrol when they encountered the guerrillas in a village in Cawayan town in Masbate province; additional soldiers were summarily dispatched to hunt down the rebels who withdrew after the clash.
The Philippine government conflict with communist rebels is one of the longest leftist insurgencies in Asia having started in the 1960s when communist ideology swept China, the Korean peninsula, Cambodia and Vietnam.
The Philippine government had postponed a scheduled peace meeting with the leaders of the communist insurgents based in Netherlands on the request from the military back in June.
According to defense officials, the military wanted to first assess the implications of a ceasefire linked to the negotiations.
The postponement prompted the founding chairman of the rebel Communist Party of the Philippines to announce that a peace agreement was off the table with the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Jose Maria Sison, who is in self-imposed exile in the Netherlands, said it was relatively easier and more productive for the communists to participate in the “oust-Duterte movement’’ and prepare for talks with the next administration.
Duterte has shrugged off Sison’s statement, saying he had no problem continuing the war with the communist rebels.
The Philippine government is fighting to keep the country together on a number of fronts. Asides from the communist insurgency, the Islamic State has set its sight on the island nation hoping to carve a south-east Asian caliphate from the former American colony.
Earlier in the week, a truck bomb had killed several government soldiers and militiamen at a checkpoint in the southern part of the country. Army sources had linked the attack to the Abu Sayyaf group who are aligned to the Islamic State.