Seven policemen have been killed and several more injured in the northern Philippines. Police have said the communist rebel group, the New People’s Army, was behind the ambush.
The vehicle carrying police officers towards the northern town of Allacapan in Cagayan province was hit by a roadside bomb, police said Saturday, before it was ambushed by communist militants.
According to the province’s police spokesman, Senior Inspector Cesar Orlanes, around 30 members of the New People’s Army opened fire on the truck after the explosion. Police returned fire but were overpowered.
Seven members of the elite Special Action Force were killed and seven were injured in the attack, Orlanes said. The police unit is charged with counter-insurgency operations, typically against communist rebels. They had been on their way to a medical exam in Allacapan, which lies around 400 kilometers (248 miles) north of the capital Manila.
The New People’s Army (NPA) has been waging a 44-year armed campaign for a Marxist state. This year has seen a surge in the number of high-profile attacks, including a separate ambush on security forces in January which left nine people dead.
According to government estimates at least 33,000 people have been killed in the decades-long insurgency.
Last month the Philippines government announced it had suspended peace talks brokered by Norway after the NPA rejected a ceasefire demand.
ccp/kms (AFP, dpa AP)