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Duterte angered by NPA ambush of troops providing relief in Samar

In this Nov. 23, 2016 photo, a red ribbon is tied to a firearm of a New People's Army guerrilla at a rebel encampment tucked in the harsh wilderness of the Sierra Madre mountains. AP/Aaron Favila, File
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday condemned the communist rebels’ attack on soldiers delivering relief goods in Northern Samar, one of the provinces hit by “Urduja.”
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said Duterte condemned the atrocity during his meeting with officials of towns affected by the storm in Naval, Biliran.
“(The President) also conveyed that his condemnation of the NPA (New People’s Army) attack on humanitarian soldiers engaged in humanitarian work in Samar, reiterating that this is the reason why he has opted to cease all talks with the NPA,” Roque said.
The NPA is the armed wing of the communist rebels. Duterte ended the peace negotiations with the communists last month partly because of the NPA’s extortion activities and attacks against civilians.
On Sunday, two soldiers who were on their way to a relief operation in Catubig, Northern Samar were hurt after they were waylaid by NPA members.
The injured soldiers were identified as Cpl. Yzazel Laure, who sustained a wound on his belly and Pfc. Roland Gomez, who was hit in the buttocks.
In a separate interview, Roque called the NPA and its political arm, the Communist Party of the Philippines, as “traitors.”   
“It is not only saddening, it does not only make one angry, it proves that the CPP-NPA are traitors,” Roque told radio station dzRH.
Roque noted that under the International Humanitarian Law, an attack against a soldier conducting humanitarian activities is considered a war crime.
“But that’s our problem with the NPA. They do not fight in accordance with the law. If they fight that way, they cannot be trusted,” the presidential spokesman said.
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