A communist rebel ambush against government troops in the northern Philippines left at least 40 combatants dead in the second most bloody attack this year, a military report said Monday.
Army spokesman Brig. Gen. Emeliano Templo said an unknown number of guerrillas of the communist New People's Army attacked a routine military patrol Sunday in Sagada, Mountain Province, about 170 miles north of Manila.The rebels, using automatic rifles and grenade launchers, killed 19 soldiers during a five-hour firefight. Troops, backed by helicopter gunships and artillery fire countered, killing at least 21 rebels, a military report said.
Reports from Baguio City, some 50 miles southwest of Sagada, said at least 20 government troops had been wounded in the attack.