Communist rebels killed 12 security forces when they responded to an attack on a logging company in the southern Philippines, the military said Friday. At least one rebel died.
New People's Army guerrillas triggered a land mine under a military and police convoy that rushed to the Surigao Development Corp. in Surigao del Sur province Wednesday, killing eight soldiers, three security guards and a police officer, said Maj. Michele Anayron, a spokesman for the 4th Infantry Division.
At least one rebel was killed in an ensuing gunbattle. The security forces battled about 80 guerrillas for about seven hours, Anayron said.
Ten soldiers, a police officer and a security guard were wounded.
The rebels torched the logging company's chain saws and heavy equipment, including four bulldozers, a police report said.
Last week, local rebel spokesman Sandara Sidlakan issued a statement denouncing the company for amassing profits while denuding the forests in the region.
The Philippine government considers the 40-year-old Maoist rebellion one of the most serious security threats despite the dwindling number of guerrillas. There are an estimated 5,000 now, down from a peak of about 25,000 fighters in the mid-1980s.
Peace talks brokered by Norway have been suspended since 2004 after the rebels accused the government of instigating their inclusion on U.S. and European terrorism lists.