8 rebels killed in fighting in central Philippines

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At least eight rebels were killed when government forces clashed with the leftist New People’s Army (NPA) members in the central Philippines on Wednesday morning, the military said.

Major General Benedict Arevalo, commander of the army’s third Infantry Division, said fighting broke out around 6 a.m. local time between soldiers and up to 70 NPA rebels near Miagao town in Iloilo province.

The gun battle continued until around noontime, Arevalo said, adding that a clearing operation is ongoing in the clash site, Xinhua news agency reported.

Troops rushed to the area after villagers tipped off the presence of guerrillas in the forested area to prepare for an attack on a military camp, he said.

Aside from the bodies of eight rebels, Arevalo said the troops also seized three M16 assault rifles, an AK-47, four landmines, and grenades.

There were no casualties on the government side, Arevalo said.

Arevalo said the military sent a police team to the clash site to examine the bodies of the eight rebels.

The NPA rebels, the party’s armed wing, have been fighting the government since 1969. They concentrate their attacks in rural areas and small-scale skirmishes with the military.

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