Government troops clash with rebels in Philippines, five dead

Published: January 22, 2018 13:09:39 | Updated: January 23, 2018 10:54:12

Philippines government troops prepare to head to the frontline as fighting with Muslim militants in Marawi city continued in southern Philippines. (AP photo used for representational purpose)

Five people have been killed after violent clashes erupted between the government troops and leftist rebels in the southern Philippines on early Monday, a military official said.

The dead included four New People's Army (NPA) guerrillas and a pro-government militiaman following the fighting in North Cotabato province of the Mindanao, according to Major Ezra Balagtey, the regional military spokesperson.

He said the incident happened as dozens of NPA insurgents surrounded a patrol base manned by soldiers and militiamen in the village named Luayon around 00:15 am local time.

A fierce gunfight erupted which lasted until 5 am local time when the attackers fled, leaving behind bodies of NPA guerrillas, Balagtey told Xinhua news agency.

He said operations were being conducted against the fleeing guerrillas.

Monday's clash came after the government troops also killed two suspected leftist guerrillas during airstrikes in the southern Philippines.

The NPA, an armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, has been staging a leftist insurgency in 60 Philippine provinces since 1969, which resulted in over 40, 000 deaths.

Talks between the government under President Rodrigo Duterte and the rebels have hit a snag, with both parties accusing each other of violating their self-imposed truce since August 2016.

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