Philippines soldiers have accidentally killed six police officers and wounded nine on Monday during an operation against Maoist guerrillas in thick jungle, an army general said.
A platoon of soldiers was operating in a remote village on Samar Island when they mistook a group of police officers as communist New People’s Army (NPA) guerrillas, and opened fire, said Maj-Gen. Raul Farnacio.
Farnacio said it was an “unfortunate incident”.
“When you are in a highly vegetated area, it’s hard to distinguish who you are up against,” he said, adding there were no casualties among the soldiers.
“The other side also returned fire. And that gave an indication that they are likely enemies of the state.
We are still conducting an investigation to determine how these two groups came close to each other.”
National police chief, Oscar Albayalde, said police teams would go to the area to investigate.
“We will need to deploy our men to that area to make our investigation. This is a very sad occurrence that we are not so happy about”
The NPA has been fighting the government for nearly 50 years.
No fewer than 40,000 have been killed in the insurgency and economic growth in resource-rich areas has been stunted.