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Rights groups to probe armed clash

Civilians thought to be among 27 dead in skirmish with communist rebels reporter, Manila

July 17, 2012

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Human rights groups today launched an independent probe into a reported clash between government troops and communist rebels that killed at least 27 people on June 30. "There were initial reports from residents that civilians were affected and killed along with the communist guerillas, garnering a total of 27 victims," the rights group Karapatan said in a statement. The group said it will send a team to San Narciso in Quezon province where the incident occurred. The military claims the rebels were preparing an ambush when they were chanced upon by government soldiers. The ensuing 30-minute firefight killed 11 rebels and wounded two soldiers, the military said. However, Karapatan says local residents reported civilians were caught in the crossfire and seven houses were burned. The human rights group says one of the dead, Armando Albarillo, was suspected by the military of being a commander in the rebel New People's Army operating in Quezon province. The Save Bondoc Peninsula Movement, a Quezon-based rights groups, will also join the probe that will run through Thursday. Related reports Maguindanao clashes displace villagers Missionaries escape Basilan ambush

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