Philippine army (Source: AFP)
Hanoi (VNA) – Philippine police said on June 26 that they have launched an probe into a serious clash between policemen and troops that killed six policemen and wounded nine others.

Troops on patrol opened fire at patrolling police on June 25 morning in a village in Santa Rita town in the central province of Samar, resulting a 30-minute firefight.

According to a police report, both government security forces were on combat patrol when the fatal clash broke out.  No soldier was killed or wounded in the incident, the report said.

The incident occurred in a vegetated, jungle area and it was very difficult to see through the policemen’s positions, said Captain Francis Agno, spokesman for the army division involved in the firefight.

A joint, thorough and impartial investigation is being carried out, said Maj. Gen. Raul Farnacio, an army commander operating in Samar province known as a hotbed of insurgents.

The military and the police are fully cooperating to shed light on the incident, he said, adding that appropriate actions will be taken against the erring ground commanders.

The incident will not hamper the working relation between the army and the police in the region, said Farnacio.

The clash occurred on the impoverished eastern island of Samar, one of the last redoubts of a 49-year-old rebellion by the New People's Army guerrillas which has claimed 30,000 lives.

Peace talks have been conducted on and off for 30 years and President Rodrigo Duterte decided to hold off for three months the resumption of negotiations originally scheduled this month.-VNA