Eight Philippine rebels killed in clashes, confirms army


MANILA (AFP): Eight communist rebels and a policeman were killed in the Philippines this week during clashes between security forces and a Maoist insurgency group, the army said on Friday.

The latest fighting happened on the central Bohol and Negros islands as government forces continue to battle the long-running insurgency despite hopes of peace talks this year.

Five rebels were killed when fighting broke out Friday as army troops and police attempted to arrest the NPA's leader on Bohol, Domingo Jaspe Compoc, who was among those killed.

"He (Compoc) is notorious... We have been monitoring his group's activities since last year," regional military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Israel Galorio told AFP.

Compoc had a 2.6-million-peso (about $47,000) bounty on his head on charges of rebellion and multiple murders, among others.

A police officer was also shot dead and a second officer was wounded, a Bohol police spokesperson told reporters.

On Wednesday, three other NPA rebels were killed and three soldiers wounded in gunfights on Negros island, the military also reported.

"Since there is still no directive or order to cease the conduct of focused military operation or joint operation with the (police)... we will still continue our internal security operations," Galorio said.

President Ferdinand Marcos's government and the rebels jointly announced last November that they intend to resume peace talks in 2024, aimed at ending the decades-long insurgency that has claimed thousands of lives.

But no dates have yet been set for formal negotiations. - AFP

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