Philippine police kill nine in raids on suspected rebels

MANILA, PHILIPPINES (AP) — Philippine police backed by military forces killed nine people over the weekend in a series of raids against suspected communist insurgents, with authorities saying the suspects opened fire first. Others, however, said those killed were unarmed activists.

Police said yesterday that all of those killed were associated with “communist terrorist groups” and had shot at officers while they were serving search warrants.

The suspects died while being brought to hospitals, police said.Police served at least 24 search warrants, mostly for illegal firearms and explosives, in a number of locations in Cavite, Laguna, Batangas and Rizal provinces over the weekend. Police said another six suspects were arrested and nine escaped.

The killings immediately drew condemnations by left-wing and rights groups, who demanded an independent investigation into what some described as executions of legitimate activists being carried out under the guise of a crackdown on rebels who have been fighting a Marxist insurgency for the past five decades.