Two soldiers and one suspected rebel die in Philippine clashes

MANILA, March 21 (Xinhua): Two soldiers and a suspected left-wing rebel were killed in separate clashes in the Philippines, the Philippine military said on Tuesday.

The military said an undetermined number of its troops and around 12 New People's Army (NPA) rebels clashed in Masbate, an island province southeast of Manila, on Monday, resulting in the death of a soldier.

Troops recovered an R4 rifle, two anti-personnel mines, two improvised explosive devices, and a binocular left behind by the fleeing rebels.

Another soldier and an NPA rebel were also killed in a separate clash in Northern Samar province in the central Philippines on Monday.

NPA rebels have been fighting the government since 1969. They concentrate their attacks on rural areas and have skirmishes with the military.

Military data showed that the NPA is estimated to have 2,000 members, significantly lower than its peak strength in the 1980s. - Xinhua

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