2 soldiers, 2 NPA rebels dead in Samar clash

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 24) — Two soldiers and two members of the New People's Army (NPA) were killed in a firefight in Calbayog City, Samar, Friday morning.

The Philippine Army's 8th Infantry Division said government troops chanced upon seven armed communist rebels "while collecting extortion money and food stuff" from residents of Barangay Olera, resulting in an encounter that lasted for almost two hours.

The rest of the rebels escaped, leaving behind two casualties. Authorities are now trying to determine their identities. A number of rebels were also wounded, the Army said.

Meanwhile, two of three wounded soldiers were declared dead on arrival at a hospital in Calbayog City.

"With the consent of their next of kin, their remains will later be interred after being accorded due honors for their heroism," the 8th Infantry Division said in its press release.

The NPA is the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), which has been waging a five-decade old insurgency in the country. President Rodrigo Duterte walked away from peace negotiations with the rebel group in 2017, as both sides accused each other of ceasefire violations. He has since urged rebels to surrender, promising housing, cash, and livelihood assistance.