Police in the Philippines say two officers held captive by communist rebels have escaped after seizing a rifle and shooting their guards.

National police spokesman Generoso Cerbo said Friday that officer Allan Munez has returned safely to Loreto township in southern Agusan del Sur province but officer Nemuel Espana is missing.

Cerbo said Munez grabbed an AK-47 rifle from one of the guards and shot him and another guerrilla late Thursday. He and Espana then fled from the rebel camp but got separated. Soldiers and police are searching for Espana.

New People's Army guerrillas seized the officers four days earlier.

On Wednesday, the rebels released seven militiamen they had captured separately earlier in the week.

The communist insurgency, one of Asia's longest, has been raging for 44 years.