Nine communist rebels dead in Philippine clash: military

Communist rebels pictured in July: nine were killed in the latest clash with Philippine troops (AFP Photo/Noel CELIS) (AFP/File)

Philippine troops killed nine communist guerrillas Wednesday in what officials described as a firefight, as the decades-old insurgency rumbled on after President Rodrigo Duterte called off peace talks.

Duterte in July shelved negotiations to end one of the world's longest insurgencies after the rebels refused to discuss a ceasefire and continued deadly attacks.

In the latest flare-up, an army unit clashed with a small force of New People's Army (NPA) guerrillas near the town of Carranglan, about 150 kilometres (93 miles) north of Manila, early Wednesday, the provincial police chief said.

"The residents reported the presence of armed men in their area. The soldiers went to the area and that is the start of the firefight," Senior Superintendent Antonio Yarra told reporters.

A soldier was wounded in the clash that lasted more than two hours, the police official added.

It was unclear why the military casualty figure was so low compared to the insurgents.

Troops recovered the bodies of the nine guerrillas and their rifles, said Lieutenant-Colonel Isagani Nato, military spokesman for the northern Philippines.

The NPA, now estimated by the military to number around 3,800 fighters, has waged a low-level guerrilla war that has left 30,000 people dead since 1969 according to government estimates.