Philippines says communist rebels killed 147 people since 2006

Other News Materials 10 February 2008 10:00 (UTC +04:00)

( dpa ) - Communist rebel assassins have killed 147 people in the Philippines since 2006, most of whom were civilians suspected of being spies for the military, an armed forces report said Sunday.

The report warned that the guerrillas' liquidation operations were expected to escalate in 2008 as military offensives degrade "their capability to conduct tactical offensives"

It said the rebels are forced "to settle for liquidation operations to project a semblance of strength and to prop up their statistics on communist terrorist-initiated activities."

The military said that from January 1 to February 6, 11 people had been killed by communist rebels. Most of the victims were civilians suspected to be military informants.

In 2007, the rebels killed 80 people, 73 per cent of whom were civilians, 12 per cent government militiamen, 11 per cent police personnel and 4 per cent military men, the report said.

The killings increased 43 per cent from 2006, when the guerrillas killed 56 people, it said.

In 2006, 75 per cent of the victims were civilians, former rebels and former government militiamen, while 11 per cent were police personnel, 7 per cent militiamen and 7 per cent military men.

"The manner of execution ranges from abduction followed by summary executions to outright (shootings) right at the gates of the victims' houses even in full view of their family members," the report said.

The military report did not give details on the alleged victims, but authorities have in the past included activists believed to have been killed by government forces in the list of rebel victims.

Leftist groups have accused the military of executing nearly 900 activists, human rights workers, labour leaders and civilian rebel supporters since 2001 as part of its counterinsurgency campaign.

Those extrajudicial killings have been condemned by the international community and have prompted various organizations, including the United Nations, to conduct investigations.