3 Philippines soldiers killed, 2 injured in clash
Three soldiers died and two others were injured early Saturday in a shootout with the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) in the country's central Western Visayas region, Anadolu reported.
According to a report from ABS-CBN news, the men were among troops who encountered at least 10 New People's Army rebels at Sitio Carbon at 6.45 a.m. Saturday (2245 Sunday).
Revekka Knothess Roperos, a 2nd lieutenant major in the army's 303rd Infantry Brigade, said that the soldiers were on a combat operation in response to reports from civilians of armed rebels in the area when they encountered an undetermined number of guerrillas.
He added that the wounded troops were being treated in a local hospital.
The NPA, which had around 3,200 fighters at the end of 2014, has been waging a 40-year guerrilla war against the government.
It is designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the United States State Department and as a terrorist group by the European Union's Common Foreign and Security Policy.
In 2010, incumbent President Benigno Aquino III revived peace talks with the CPP, but shelved them in 2013, accusing the rebels of insincerity in efforts to achieve a political settlement.
Exiled CPP founder Jose Maria Sison has now invited the winner of the May 9 presidential elections, Rodrigo Duterte, to reconvene the talks.
Sison, 77, who fled into exile in Europe after the failure of earlier talks, has said he looks forward to further conversations, to an immediate ceasefire, the release of all political prisoners, his return home, and the acceleration of the peace negotiations.
Peter Lavina, Duterte's spokesperson, has said that Duterte might order the release of jailed communist rebels to pave the way for the resumption of the talks.