Soldiers hurt in land mine blasts

A land mine set by suspected communist guerrillas wounded seven soldiers in the central Philippines, in one of the insurgents’ first known attacks since President Ferdinand Marcos Jr took office last week.

Army troops were checking reports from villagers of anti-personnel mines laid by rebels from the New People’s Army, the Communist Party of the Philippines’ armed wing, along a village trail in Northern Samar province when an explosion wounded the seven soldiers, regional army commander Maj Gen Edgardo de Leon said.

Two of the wounded soldiers were in critical condition, he said, adding that no villagers were injured.

The government will file criminal complaints against rebel leaders for the attack and the use of internationally banned types of land mines, de Leon told reporters.

The soldiers were not able to open fire at the rebels, who fled after the attack and were being hunted by government forces, he said.

On Friday, a day after Marcos Jr was sworn in after winning a landslide victory in a May 9 election, government troops assaulted eight communist rebels, killing one, in a shootout in central Negros Oriental province, the army said.

Marcos Jr during the campaign said he would pursue peace talks with communist insurgents and expressed support for a government task force established under his predecessor, Rodrigo Duterte, to fight the insurgency by bringing infrastructure, housing and livelihood projects to the poverty-stricken countryside. — AP

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