Two soldiers and three communist rebels were killed while 15 other troops were wounded in a land mine attack and clashes in the southern Philippine city of Davao, President Rodrigo Duterte’s hometown, a military official said Friday. Maj. Ezra Balagtey, a military spokesman, said Friday that the soldiers were pursuing the rebels from a communist group on Thursday after a harvester had been set on fire on a pineapple plantation when the guerrillas detonated a land mine. Two soldiers were killed and 15 others were wounded in the blast, while two New People’s Army rebels died in the ensuing firefight, Balagtey said.
The clash comes a day after another guerrilla was killed in an attack on an army detachment in another district of Davao city, he said.
Earlier this month, both Duterte and the guerrillas called off unilateral cease-fires in the 48-year insurgency, one of Asia’s longest-running Marxist rebellions.
Duterte, who describes himself as the country’s first left-wing leader, said peace talks brokered by Norway will remain suspended unless there is a compelling reason to restart them that benefits the nation.