MANILA, Sept. 20 (Xinhua) -- Nine local communist rebels were killed on Wednesday in an exchange of gunfire with government forces in northern Philippines, an army spokesman said.
Lt. Col. Isagani Nato, spokesman of the Armed Forces of the Philippines' Northern Luzon Command, said a clash broke out between army troops and some 15 New People's Army (NPA) at around 7:25 a.m. local time in a village in Carranglan town in Nueva Ecija province.
NPA is the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, which was founded in 1968 and has been fighting a guerrilla war against the government ever since.
Nato said an army soldier was also wounded in the right leg during the firefight that lasted more than two hours.
Military also recovered nine high-powered firearms, including five M-16 rifles, two M653 rifles, and AK-47, and an M-14 rifle, and eight backpacks containing the rebels' belongings.
"The villagers reported the presence of the rebels, prompting the military to send army soldiers to the area," Nato said.
Several Philippine administrations in past decades tried to negotiate and reach a peace agreement with the leftist rebels but efforts remained fruitless.
Talks to end the communist insurgency hit a snag in July after President Rodrigo Duterte suspended the peace talks after a series of NPA attacks.
Duterte, however, has recently hinted that he might revive the talks. His spokesman, Ernesto Abella, said Duterte needs to consult first his security cluster before making a decision to resume the talks.