DAVAO CITY, Philippines, Sept. 27 (Xinhua) -- Government troops and leftist rebels clashed anew in southern Philippines on Friday, leaving one soldier dead, the military said.
The incident happened as troops from the army's 72nd Infantry Battalion were conducting combat patrol at the hinterland village of Malinawon, Mawab town, in Mindanao's Compostela Valley province past 8 a.m. local time.
One soldier identified as Corporal Wahid Saijili was killed as troops encountered an undetermined number of New People's Army rebels, said Captain Alberto Caber, spokesperson of the military's Eastern Mindanao Command.
"We're still determining if there were casualties (on the NPA), " said Caber, adding pursuit operation was being launched against the fleeing guerrillas.
Friday's attack was the latest escalation of violence between the military and the leftist NPA in Mindanao in recent weeks.
Jorge Madlos, alias Oris, NPA leader in Mindanao, has vowed early in the week to step up offensives against soldiers and police in the resource-rich island, following the attack on Sunday of a militia detachment in Misamis Oriental province that left five soldiers and militiamen dead.
The 4, 000-strong NPA, an armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, is fighting a leftist insurgency in 60 Philippine provinces since 1969.