Suspected communist guerrillas killed 10 army soldiers who were returning to their camp in the central Philippines after being recalled from combat two days before a Christmas cease-fire, officials said on Wednesday.
A nine-year-old boy also was killed in the crossfire on Tuesday when the New People’s Army guerrillas detonated a landmine then opened fire on the soldiers in Northern Samar province, regional military commander Lt. Gen. Ralph Villanueva said.
Two soldiers were wounded in the ambush, which took place near a rice field in remote Katubig town, he said.
Government troops would not pursue the attackers in compliance with the cease-fire, which had been agreed by both sides and was to start on Thursday and last up to January 3, regional military spokesman Maj. Christopher Tampos said.
The military condemned the attack as a treacherous act.
The attack was launched despite a planned resumption of long-stalled peace talks early next year in Norway, which has been brokering the talks.
The Philippines’ 41-year Marxist rebellion has been one of Asia’s longest and bloodiest. More than 120,000 combatants and civilians have died in the rural-based rebellion.
Peace talks brokered by Norway have been suspended since 2004 after the rebels accused the government of instigating their inclusion on U.S. and European terrorist lists.