Communist guerrillas raided a large gold mine in Mindanao, burning equipment and stealing firearms, the military said Friday.
The New People’s Army attacked the Masara mine, jointly operated by Crew Minerals of Norway and the local Apex Mining Corp., near Maco town late Thursday, a military report said.
The rebels destroyed mine equipment and fled with firearms and other munitions used by security personnel at the mine, according to officials.
Eyewitnesses said more than 40 guns were stolen, but the military report put the figure at nine guns and four radio transceivers.
Company officials in Manila declined to comment.
The government has stepped up security at mine sites since the Mindanao-based communist rebels attacked the Tampakan copper project of Switzerland-based Xstrata in December.
The military has said the communist group had been stepping up its extortion activities after it was listed as a terrorist organization by US and European governments in 2003, leading to a freeze of financing from foreign sources.