The Philippine military said Friday it was pursuing communist rebels who killed three soldiers during a clash in southern Agusan del Sur province.
The military said the gunbattle with New People's Army rebels broke out Wednesday in San Luis township. Army spokesman Maj. Michele Anayron said Friday that an unknown number of rebels were killed in the fighting.
The Maoist rebels have intensified attacks on army and police units to seize weapons. It is part of their strategy to thwart an order by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo for troops to crush the insurgency by 2010.
Peace talks brokered by Norway stalled in 2004. The rebels accused the government of instigating their inclusion on a US list of terrorist groups.