Philippine communist rebels urge fighters to step up attacks

Communist guerrillas in the Philippines, marking the 37th anniversary of Asia's longest-running Maoist rebellion, urged their fighters Tuesday to step up attacks to hasten the downfall of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

"Let us accelerate the momentum of our tactical offensives," the Central Committee of the underground Communist Party of the Philippines said in a message saluting 37 years of fighting.

"We must fight only battles that we can win," the message said. "We must conduct ambushes, raids and arrest operations in which we have the upper hand by concentrating a superior force and taking advantage of the element if surprise."

The government has long accused the rebels of extortion and economic sabotage, and last month, Arroyo announced the rebels had teamed up with right-wing elements in the military in a coup plot she said would've destroyed democracy in the Philippines had it succeeded.

The rebels have denied any formal links with dissident officers, but offered them sanctuary in guerrilla areas, reports the AP.


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