By Ibrahim Hakki Cetinkaya
ANKARA (AA) - A Philippine Air Force helicopter crashed in the country’s south on Saturday, killing seven people on board, local media reported.
The helicopter, carrying supplies for counterinsurgency forces fighting communist rebels, crashed in a mountainous area in the Bukidnon province apparently due to engine trouble, daily Tribune quoted regional army spokesman Maj. Rodolfo Cordero Jr as saying.
Cordero said the helicopter had encountered an engine trouble.
The Communist rebels had declared a unilateral cease-fire in August 2016 after some of their imprisoned members were released to participate in the resumed peace talks with the government.
During the peace talks between the Philippine government and the communist rebels in Oslo, Norway in the same month, both parties agreed on an indefinite ceasefire.
The second phase of peace talks between the parties officially began in Oslo, in October 2016. It was reported that the peace talks were continuing in Rome, the capital of Italy, in January 2017.
On Feb.1, 2017, the communist rebels accused the government of failing to release political prisoners and violating rebel-controlled areas, announcing that they would end the six-month cease-fire in the country.
Later, the New People's Army of rebels killed four soldiers and kidnapped two soldiers in two separate armed attacks.
Following this, President Rodrigo Duterte announced he ended the cease-fire with the rebels and suspended peace talks, adding that the rebel leaders released due to the peace process will be sent to prison again.
*Writing by Seda Sevencan