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'Four killed in communist attack'

world Updated: Jul 12, 2008 12:16 IST

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Four communist guerrillas were killed in the latest outbreak of fighting in the southern Philippines, police and local officials said on Saturday.

About 60 guerrillas of the communist New People's Army (NPA) attacked a military outpost on the island of Mindanao late Friday, sparking a gunbattle that raged into the next day, said provincial police and local officials.

One government militiaman was wounded in the fighting, which the provincial information office said had forced some 30 families to flee their homes and seek refuge in a nearby centre.

Police and military units in the area have been on alert since NPA fighters attacked two police stations in the nearby resort island of Siargao on June 26, stealing over a dozen firearms.

The NPA in the Mindanao region have been very active in recent months, with attacks on civilian targets who reportedly refused their extortion demands or who are suspected of aiding the government.

The NPA, the 5,000-member armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, has been waging a 39-year armed Maoist campaign across the country. It raises funds largely by extorting money from rural businesses.