Philippine troops clash with communist rebels; one soldier hurt

PhilippinesManila - One Philippine soldier was wounded in a clash with communist rebels while providing security for US troops building a farm road in an eastern province, a military spokesman said Thursday.

The firefight erupted Wednesday when troops encountered the guerrillas while on patrol in Barcelona town in Sorsogon province, 390 kilometres south-east of Manila.

Lieutenant Colonel Ernesto Torres said the troops were part of forces providing security for US soldiers constructing a one-kilometre farm road in nearby Juban town at the time of the clash.

The civic mission was part of the annual Balikatan (shoulder-to-shoulder) joint military training exercises between 6,000 US soldiers and 2,000 Filipino troops.

The US troops are to also conduct humanitarian missions in various parts of the eastern Philippines before taking part in counterterrorism and disaster preparedness exercises until April 30. (dpa)