Eight communist rebels were killed on Thursday in a clash with government troops in the eastern Philippines, the military and police said.

The fire fight erupted when troops stumbled upon a group of 20 guerrillas setting up a temporary encampment in a village in Juban town in Sorsogon province, 380 kilometres south-east of Manila, said regional police spokesman Superintendent Renato Bataller.

Troops recovered five high-powered firearms, including two M203 grenade launchers, and an improvised explosive device from the encampment, said Lieutenant Ramon Zagala, a military spokesman.

Zagala said two of the eight slain rebels were female.

Hostilities between government troops and communist rebels have been escalating amid an impasse in peace talks aimed at ending one of the longest-running leftist insurgencies in Asia.

Rebel leaders based in the Netherlands have expressed doubts that the negotiations, which have been stalled since 2004, would resume under the administration of President Benigno Aquino.

More In: World | International | News