1 dead, 4 injured in NPA attacks
Communist rebels killed a government soldier and wounded four others in separate attacks in Mindanao, a regional army spokesman said Friday.

Lt. Col. Francisco Simbahon, of the 4th Infantry Division, said suspected New People's Army rebels ambushed two soldiers returning to their camp in Agusan del Sur province on Wednesday. He said one soldier was killed instantly and the other seriously wounded.

NPA rebels also attacked patrolling soldiers in Surigao del Sur the same day and wounded two while another soldier was injured when rebels ambushed him in Davao del Norte province.

"There are operations against the NPA in Mindanao and we will continue to pursue the rebels until they are neutralized," Simbahon said.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo ordered a heightened military offensive against the NPA, which the government considers the biggest threat to national security.

Defense Secretary Avelino Cruz Jr. and Armed Forces chief Generoso Senga said the President made the order after being briefed on the security situation in the country.

"What the President wants is to intensify the military offensive against an international security threat to the country," Cruz said.

But Senga said aside from communist insurgents, the Abu Sayyaf and renegade members of the former rebel group Moro National Liberation Front also pose a big threat to internal security.

The NPA, armed wing of the outlawed Communist Party of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front (CPP-NDF), is fighting the past three decades to topple the government and install a Maoist state in the country.

Peace negotiations between Manila and the rebels collapsed following the pullout of the National Democratic Front (NDF) from the talks due to its inclusion in the terror lists of the United States and the European Union. Rebel leaders demanded that President Arroyo ask the United States and the European Union to strike them off from the terror lists before they resume peace talks.

The rebels have vowed to step up attacks on government targets after Manila last year suspended safety and immunity guarantee for their negotiators following the collapse of the peace talks.
Posted by: Dan Darling 2006-02-18