MANILA - Philippine communist guerrillas killed 11 soldiers and a civilian Wednesday in one of their most audacious attacks in recent years, the military said. A three-vehicle Philippine army convoy was ambushed by NPA rebels near the mountain town of Tinoc on the main island of Luzon, said Major-General Rommel Gomez, army commander of the northern Philippines. “These people are terrorists,” Gomez said of the attackers. “We are still on pursuit operations.” An army captain was among 11 soldiers killed in the early morning attack, army spokesman Colonel Loreto Maguddayao told AFP, and a civilian who played in a military brass band also died.

Two other soldiers and another civilian were wounded.

“This is considered one of the most daring attacks by the NPA in this area in recent years,” Maguddayao said.

The apparent target was the local battalion commander, Lieutenant-Colonel Eugenio Batara, who was also in the convoy as it drove back to camp after visiting a remote mountain outpost but escaped unhurt, Maguddayao added.

About 100 soldiers, policemen and police aides were killed in NPA attacks across the country last year, down from 184 in the previous year, the military has said.

The NPA is the armed unit of the Communist Party of the Philippines, and has been waging one of Asia’s longest running communist insurgencies since 1969.