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Jakarta Post

Philippine soldiers accidentally kill six police in jungle clash



Manila   /   Mon, June 25, 2018   /   08:59 pm
Philippine soldiers accidentally kill six police in jungle clash New People’s Army guerillas, the armed wing of the Maoist rebels, march during the turn-over ceremony of captured government soldiers to officials and peace advocates in the hinterlands of Matanao town, Davao del Sur province, in southern island of Mindanao in April last year. Negotiations between Manila and the rebels collapsed in February after the guerrillas killed several soldiers and police in a series of attacks, spurring President Rodrigo Duterte to angrily call off the talks. Duterte later softened his stance and agreed to resume discussions with the communist-led National Democratic Front. (AFP/Manman Dejeto)
Philippine soldiers mistakenly killed six police officers and wounded nine on Monday during an operation against Maoist guerrillas in thick jungle, an army general said.

A platoon of soldiers was operating in a remote village on Samar island when they mistook a group of police officers as communist New People's Army (NPA) guerrillas, and opened fire, said Major-General Raul Farnacio.

Farnacio said it was an "unfortunate incident".

"When you are in a highly vegetated area, it's hard to distinguish who you are up against," he said, adding there were no casualties among the soldiers.

"The other side also returned fire. We are still conducting an investigation to determine how these two groups came close to each other."

National police chief Oscar Albayalde said police teams would go to the area to investigate.

The NPA has been fighting the government for nearly 50 years.

More than 40,000 have been killed in the insurgency and economic growth in resource-rich areas has been stunted.