3 soldiers killed in NPA ambush in Mindanao

Posted at 05/23/10 11:44 AM

DAVAO - Three soldiers were killed in an ambush by communist guerrillas in the southern Philippines, the latest in a wave of attacks by the insurgents, the military said Sunday.

The soldiers were buying supplies at a market when they were attacked by about 30 New People's Army (NPA) rebels on strife-torn Mindanao island Saturday, military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Randolph Cabangbang said.

One militiaman deputized by the army was also wounded in a brief firefight after troops at a nearby patrol base rushed to the area, he said.

"The ambush site was just 500 meters from a militia patrol base and troops were able to respond and recover the bodies of the slain troopers as well as the wounded," Cabangbang said.

Saturday's attack was the deadliest since May 11, when NPA rebels killed 6 people and wounded 12 others in an ambush on an election convoy also in Mindanao.

In the run-up to the polls, four police commandos were also killed in an NPA attack just outside the capital Manila in late April.

The Maoist-inspired NPA has been waging an insurgency since 1969 that has claimed thousands of lives.

It had stepped up attacks over the past few weeks, harassing and extorting money from local candidates in the May 10 national elections and targeting police and troops delivering voting materials.