Philippine troops clashed on Wednesday with communist rebels in the south, leaving eight rebels and a soldier dead, officials said. The fighting erupted after patrolling troops encountered some 40 New People’s Army rebels in southern Compostela Valley province, said army spokesman Capt. Alexandre Cabales. The guerrillas later fled, leaving behind the bodies of eight rebels and six high-powered guns. A wounded soldier died on the way to a hospital, he said. On Monday, troops in the same province captured a camp of the rebels, who have been waging one of Asia’s longest-running Marxist insurgencies.
The violence happened despite a statement by officials and rebel peace negotiators that they would suspend offensives to allow troops to focus on quelling a bloody siege by Islamic State group-aligned militants that in southern Marawi city.
The Marawi fighting entered its 51st day on Wednesday, with President Rodrigo Duterte saying Tuesday that it could end in 10-15 days.