Five killed in clashes between soldiers and communist rebels in Philippines

Gunbattles between government troops and communist rebels killed at least five combatants and wounded eight in the northern and southern Philippines, the military said Thursday.

Three New People's Army guerrillas were killed and five wounded and captured early Thursday after troops raided a rebel hideout near Tangub city in southern Misamis Occidental province, about 480 miles southeast of Manila, said Lt. Col. Eduardo Tardio, commander of the army's 5th Infantry Battalion.

Tardio said soldiers surrounded the house the previous night and assaulted at dawn, surprising the guerrillas. One of the dead and two of the captured rebels were women. There were no military casualties, he said.

On Wednesday, soldiers from the army's 22nd Infantry Battalion on patrol in the village of Danao, outside Polangui town in Albay province, ran into a group of guerrillas, triggering an "intense exchange of gunfire" that killed a rebel and a soldier, military spokesman Lt. Col. Daniel Lucero said. Three soldiers were wounded.

Polangui is about about 190 miles southeast of Manila.

A guerrilla spokesman told reporters over the weekend that the rebels planned "surprise attacks" during U.S. President George W. Bush's visit to Manila Oct. 18.

The United States has labeled the Communist Party of the Philippines and its 10,000-strong armed wing as terrorist organizations.

The rebels have been fighting for a Marxist state since the late 1960s. Peace talks have stalled since 2001, but both sides have said they are willing to resume negotiations.

(10-09) 02:49 PDT OZAMIS, Philippines (AP) --


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