By Agence France-Presse, Updated: 3/27/2010

One dead, two wounded in Philippine communist attack

Communist guerrillas attacked a military post in the southern Philippines, killing one soldier and wounding two others, the army said Saturday.

Members of the New People’s Army (NPA) also ransacked the armoury, carting away 38 high powered firearms during the attack in North Cotabato province on Mindanao island Friday, regional army spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Randolph Cabangbang told AFP.

Cabangbang said the attack could have been connected to May national elections.

"This may also be part of their fundraising campaign, because they are known to sell stolen government firearms to private armies controlled by politicians," he said.

At least 77 people have been killed in the run-up to the vote, including 57 who were massacred in November allegedly by a Muslim clan that was once allied to President Gloria Arroyo.

About 189 people were killed in the last presidential election in 2004.

The NPA, numbering over 3,000, is the armed wing of the underground Communist Party of the Philippines that has waged a decades-long Maoist rebellion. The conflict peaked in the 1980s, when the rebel ranks swelled to about 26,000 combatants.

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