Illustrative image (Source: manetwork.com)

Hanoi (VNA) – Philippine troops have resumed assaults against the New People’s Army (NPA), killing at least one gunman and capturing one of its leaders after President Rodrigo Duterte cancelled peace talks with the rebel group, said military officials on February 6.

The captured leader is Ariel Arbitrario, one of the dozens released in 2016 when the Philippine Government and the rebel group restored their peace talks.

Adviser of the rebel group Luis Jalandoni accused the military of breaching the ceasefire by deploying troops in about 500 villages, occupying severe locations and continuing surveillance operations.

The group is ready to resume peace talks, which is scheduled to take place from February 22 to 25 in Europe, with Norway being the mediator, to discuss about a possible ceasefire, he added.

On February 3, President Rodrigo Duterte declared to annul the six-month ceasefire with the NPA. He also cancelled all peace talks with the group the following day, after the NPA stopped the ceasefire and killed six Government soldiers and kidnapped two in recent clashes.

The fight between the Government troops and the NPA has claimed about 30,000 lives over half of the century. Gunmen of the NPA said that the army used Duterte’s anti-drug campaign as an excuse to launch campaigns in areas that are under the control of the rebel group.-VNA