• Two hurt in bomb blast in Mindanao

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    ZAMBOANGA CITY: A 58-year old woman and a minor were wounded in a roadside explosion blamed by the military on Wednesday to communist rebels in Compostela Valley, southern Philippines.

    According to General Aurelio Baladad, chief of the Eastern Mindanao Command, the bomb blast occurred in barangay San Jose in Monkayo.

    He said the rebels detonated the explosives while government troops were pursuing them. Soldiers took the wounded civilians to hospital.

    The civilians were fleeing the fighting when rebels exploded the bomb, Baladad said while condemning the attack on civilians.

    “We condemn the blatant disregard by the NPA [New People’s Army] of the safety of the communities by laying landmines in their midst. Where is their adherence to International Humanitarian Law as they always claim to respect?” he asked.

    Government soldiers clashed with rebels in the village after an army patrol caught up with the NPA band. Soldiers also recovered three automatic rifles, a radio transceiver, a motorcycle and anti-government propaganda left behind by rebels.

    In was not immediately known if there were enemy casualties, but no soldiers were reported injured or slain in the fighting.

    The NPA has been waging a separatist war the past decades and peace talks with Manila had failed, although there were back channel talks to restart the negotiations. The rebels have been demanding the release of all political prisoners and rebels jailed across the country as a condition for the resumption of the peace talks.

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