Monday, July 20, 2009

Rebels open fire on Philippine military chopper

Philippine Air Force MG520 helicopter. (Mindanao Examiner Photo)

DAVAO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / July 20, 2009) – Communist rebels opened fire on a Philippine Air Force chopper transporting combat supplies to troops in Mindanao, officials said on Monday.

Officials said New People’s Army rebels sniped the MG520 chopper on Sunday as it was delivering supplies to soldiers in the village of Sinapulan in Sultan Kudarat’s Colombio town, where security forces earlier overrun an enemy encampment.

“NPA snipers targeted the chopper, but luckily it was not hit and the MG520 returned fire and we still don’t know if there were enemies killed in the counterattack,” said Captain Rosa Maria Cristina Manuel, a spokeswoman for the Army’s 10th Infantry Division.

She said troops on Tuesday were pursuing the rebels in the town after capturing the NPA encampment. She said government soldiers recovered high-powered firearms and improvised explosives left by retreating rebels.

One soldier, Private First Class Rolan Salibio, was wounded during the raid on the rebel camp, Manuel said.

Fighting between military and rebel forces still continue despite a recent pronouncement by government and communist leaders about the resumption of the collapsed peace talks next month.

Peace talks collapsed in 2004 after rebel leaders accused Manila of reneging on an agreement that would free all political prisoners and stop extrajudicial killings of political activists in the country, among others.

The NPA is fighting for the past four decades for the establishment of a Maoist state in the country. (Mindanao Examiner)

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