March 31, 2009 / 11:25 AM / 11 years ago

Maoists attack Philippine army base, at least 17 killed

MANILA, March 31 (Reuters) - Maoist-led guerrillas stormed an army base on the restive southern Philippines island of Mindanao on Tuesday, and at least 17 people were killed, the military said.

Troops held their ground for about 90 minutes when communist New People’s Army (NPA) guerrillas attacked the base in Bukidnon province, said Major Michele Anayron.

Eleven rebels and two civilians were killed, Anayron said, adding the retreating guerrillas commandeered two private trucks passing the area. Four members of a local militia were also killed.

The rebel attack came two days after the NPA, the communist party’s military arm, marked its 40th anniversary. Active in 69 of 80 provinces across the country, the rebels have been waging a protracted war to overthrow Manila’s democratic government.

The rebels usually attempt to grab ammunition and weapons during raids on military posts to boost their own armoury.

The Maoist-led insurgency has killed 40,000 people and scared potential investors from the resource-rich Southeast Asian state. (Reporting by Manny Mogato; Editing by Rosemarie Francisco)

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