Suspected leftist rebels attacked a mining company and killed a security guard in the southern Philippines, police and military officials said Saturday.
Some 20 New People’s Army (NPA) guerrillas swooped down on the mining village of Napnapan, Pantukan town in Mindanao Island’s Compostela Valley province around 5 a.m. Friday and confiscated over a dozen firearms from portal guards of a gold mine owned by a local businessman, Senior Superintendent Aaron Aquino, provincial police chief, told Xinhua.
A tunnel security guard was also reportedly killed when the attackers and mine security personnel engaged in a brief shootout, said Colonel Roberto Domines Jr., a provincial army commander.
“The rebels then withdrew on foot towards a nearby forested community and soldiers and police are now conducting pursuit operations against the suspects,” Aquino said.
The latest attack by the leftist rebels happened a day after representatives from the Philippine government and the NPA’s political arm, National Democratic Front, met abroad and agreed to an 18-day ceasefire for the observance of the Christmas season in the predominantly Catholic country which will begin on Dec. 16.
The NPA, armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, has been waging a guerrilla campaign in the countryside for four decades. Military estimates the NPA strength at more than 4,000 guerrilla fighters scattered in at least 60 provinces throughout the Southeast Asian country.
Peace talks between the Philippine government and the leftists bogged down after the United States included the NPA and its parent body as foreign terrorist organizations in 2002.