The military says five soldiers were killed and six others were wounded in a communist rebel ambush in the northern Philippines.

Capt. Mark Anthony Ruelos of the 7th Infantry Division says the soldiers were traveling in a convoy with police late Thursday when they were fired on by New People's Army guerrillas in Quirino township in Ilocos Sur province.

He said government forces were pursuing the guerrillas on Friday.

Armed forces spokesman Col. Restituto Padilla said the rebels used civilians as human shields, preventing the ambushed troops from making an effective counter-attack.

He said the rebels also fired at medical personnel trying to retrieve the bodies of the slain soldiers, but none was hurt.