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Policemen ambushed in Metro Manila’s eastern outskirts

Suspected New Peoples’ Army members open fire on Special Action Force in San Jose village

Manila: A two-vehicle convoy carrying police commandos were ambushed early morning Sunday in a remote area in Antipolo City, officials said.

Members of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) were travelling along an isolated area in the village of San Jose, when suspected New Peoples’ Army (NPA) opened fire on them, riddling two police cars with gunfire and injuring six police commandos.

A report by the Manila Bulletin quoted Senior Inspector Cherrylyn Agtarap as saying the ambush occurred at around 6am on Sunday.

Antipolo is located just more than 11 km away from Manila. While reports of NPA presence in the area is not unusual, the ambush is the first time in years that such an action was carried out so close to the capital.

The village of San Jose is an area not frequented by people.

The report said the policemen were taken to the Rizal Provincial Hospital and Amang Rodriguez Memorial Medical Center in Marikina City for treatment.

According to an Antipolo City resident, there had been increased military and police presence in the city since the ambush took place.

“Police commandos in motorcycles with rifles are going around the areas in the city,” a resident said.

There had been a noticeable increase in insurgent presence in areas in the Philippines after President Rodrigo Duterte offered peace negotiations with them last year.

“The NPA was able to consolidate its forces and conduct atrocities since they took advantage of the peace negotiations last year,” a security official who asked for anonymity told Gulf News in an interview.

The Duterte administration had restarted peace negotiations in 2016 with the insurgents as part of his campaign promise, however, frequent attacks go businesses and military and police convoys, prompted the President to scuttle the peace process.

The Central government in Manila had been fighting the communist insurgents led by the NPA and the Communist Party of the Philippines for 50 years already.

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