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Reds killed 1 civilian a week in 2012 - AFP

The recent NPA ambush in Negros Occidental claimed nine lives, mostly civilians. Last year, the AFP claimed communist rebels killed an average of one civilian a week.

MANILA, Philippines -- Communist rebels killed an average of one civilian a week last year, the Armed Forces of the Philippines claimed Wednesday.

AFP spokesman Colonel Arnulfo Burgos Jr. said the military recorded 53 civilian deaths in 374 violent incidents in 2012. NPA attacks or clashes also killed 81 soldiers, eight policemen and 22 militiamen.

"Such atrocities are a clear manifestation of the NPAs resorting to force and intimidation to coerce civilians including private firms and individuals, even poor folks in far flung villages of the country to give in to their demands since the NPA has lost its mass base support already," Burgos said in a statement.

The AFP, meanwhile, said 555 communist rebels were arrested, killed or surrendered to the government.

January deadliest month for civilians

The beginning of last year proved to be the deadliest for civilians, the AFP said, with 10 killed and nine wounded in 10 alleged NPA attacks.

"These NPA-initiated violent incidents also resulted to three fatalities from the AFP, PNP, and CAA (CAFGU active auxiliary) while 27 were wounded. This clearly shows that the rebel group continues to pursue armed violence despite ongoing peace efforts by the government," Burgos said.

Last month, the NPA also admitted responsibility for the death of nine people, mostly civilians, in La Castellana, Negros Occidental but claimed that they were fired upon first.

The AFP claimed the NPA has been reduced to attacking "soft targets" and continue to use improvised explosive devices, ambushes and extorting from civilians.

Ceasefire violations

During the December 16 to January 15 ceasefire, the longest ever between the government and communist rebels, the AFP said it had recorded at least five incidents of harassment by the NPA, in Agusan del Norte, Malaybalay City, North Cotabato, Tanay, Rizal, South Cotabato and Camarines Sur.

A soldier and a militiaman were killed and two others were wounded.

The NPA also abducted a policeman and a soldier, Burgos said.

Despite these incidents, the AFP said it would continue to support peace efforts by the government but "will continue to intensify our focused security operations against armed rebels who continue to wage armed violence causing loss of innocent lives, destruction of properties, and damage to vital economic facilities and infrastructures,” AFP chief of staff General Emmanuel Bautista said.


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