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Communists accused of civilian massacre

Nine killed in roadside ambush reporter, Manila

January 28, 2013

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The military has accused the communist New People's Army (NPA) of massacring nine people, eight of them civilians, in Negros Occidental province.

“Despite our openness to the rebels returning to the democratic fold, the NPA continues to wage armed violence [and] disrupt government peace-building initiatives,” said Colonel Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos in a statement today.

Nine people were killed and at least six injured on Sunday morning when suspected NPA rebels ambushed a truck carrying police and village guards returning from a festival in the town of La Castellana.

The dead included one policeman, six village guards, the wife of a guard, and the driver of the truck.

It was the deadliest attack by communist rebels in several months and came amid hopes that peace talks would be revived between the government and the insurgents.

The communists pulled out of peace negotiations in November 2011 after the government rejected demands to free jailed rebel leaders.

The Communist Party of the Philippines and its military wing, the NPA, have been waging an armed rebellion since 1969 and more than 30,000 people have died in the conflict.

The military estimates current rebel strength at about 4,000 fighters, significantly down from more than 26,000 in the late 1980s.

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