ZAMBOANGA, Philippines – Communist guerrillas clashed with government troops Sunday, the latest trouble from the Philippines' renewed Marxist resurgency. Seven people were killed.
A two-hour gunbattle involving about 70 New People's Army rebels killed two soldiers and five rebels near the town of Baganga in the southern Davao Oriental province, army Col. Pedro Curva said.
Residents told the government that the rebels were in the area allegedly seeking recruits and demanding money, Curva said. The rebels, overwhelmed by the government troops, withdrew into the forest.
On Wednesday, government soldiers killed a ranking communist commander after a gunbattle with several rebels, the army said Sunday.
President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's administration is negotiating to resume peace talks to end the 34-year rebellion, while launching offensives at the same time to contain the rebels.
The government backed off from the talks two years ago after the rebels assassinated several politicians. Last year, Washington and the European Union included the rebels on their lists of terrorist organizations.