MANILA, Sept. 9 (Xinhua) -- Two leftist rebels have been killed in clashes between government security forces and New People's Army (NPA) rebels in Agusan del Sur province in the southern Philippines, the Philippine military said on Monday.
The military in a report said that Philippine security forces and the rebels clashed on Sunday in a village in Loreto town, forcing the evacuation of 220 families.
One of the rebels was killed in the first fighting on Sunday morning, while the second rebel was killed when fighting resumed in the afternoon, the report said.
"At least 220 families from the village and nearby villages have been forced to vacate their homes due to the armed hostilities," the report added.
According to the report, army troops are now pursuing the band of rebels that managed to escape.
The NPA guerrillas have been fighting the government since 1969, making the rebel group one of Asia's longest-running insurgencies. They concentrate their attacks in rural areas and small-scale skirmishes with the military.
The NPA strength is estimated at less than 4,000, a number significantly lower than its peak strength of around 25,000 in the 1980s.
Over the past five decades, the NPA has continued to carry out killings, raids, kidnappings, acts of extortion, and other forms of violence primarily directed against Philippine security forces.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte vowed to crush the NPA during his term which ends in 2022.