Four police officers were killed Wednesday in an attack by suspected communist rebels in the southern Philippines, the military said.
Another police officer was wounded in the attack in the town of Bansalan in Davao del Sur province, 980 kilometres south of Manila, said Lieutenant Colonel Marion Angcao, an army battalion commander.
The victims were on their way to investigate a killing in a villagein Bansalan when they were attacked by the suspected guerrillas, he added.
Hostilities between government forces and communist rebels have stepped up since President Rodrigo Duterte scrapped peace talks with Netherlands-based guerrilla leaders on February 4.
Duterte also cancelled an agreement with the rebels granting immunity from arrests for those involved in the peace negotiations, and ordered the recapture of leaders who were freed to join the talks.
The rebels have since intensified offensives against government forces and extortion attacks against private companies.
Communist rebels have been fighting the Philippine government since the late 1960s, making the movement one of the longest-running leftist insurgencies in Asia.
Security forces in the Philippines are also struggling with the Abu Sayyaf extremist group who, similar to communist rebels, increased their attacks over the past weeks.
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