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Philippines Christmas truce reportedly being violated by rebels

A Christmas truce between the Philippines and Maoist rebels has already begun to fall apart, according to government officials.

Philippines rebels truceEnlarge
This photo taken on October 15, 2012 shows members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels raising their rifles during a ceremony at Camp Darapanan in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao province on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao to coincide with the signing of an accord between the government and rebels' representatives in the Philippines capital city of Manila. (Stringer/AFP/Getty Images)

A Christmas truce between the Philippines and Maoist rebels has already begun to fall apart, according to government officials, who say the communist guerillas have already launched three attacks since the ceasefire was declared. 

The Philippine government has been clashing with rebels for over 40 years, and the violence has killed around 40,000, according to Reuters.

There has reportedly been an unofficial truce in place since the beginning of December, after Typhoon Bopha devastated the region on December 4, in order to allow for relief work to go on without violent interruptions, Agence France Presse reported.  

However, though officials announced a formal truce running from December 16 to January 2, the New People's Army guerrilla group reportedly launched several attacks over the course of the month, including a raid on a police station which left one officer dead, Bangkok Post reported

The rebels also abducted two female children of a soldier who had lost his home in the typhoon, and ambushed an army unit delivering relief goods to areas hit hard by Bopha, according to the Bangkok Post.

Last year, the two sides agreed to 19-day holiday truce, the longest the country has had in 10 years, according to Reuters.

However, discussions have stalled since the Maoist insurgents began demanding prisoner releases, and the government asked that the rebels stop their extortion of money from mines, plantations, and construction companies.

More from GlobalPost: Typhoon Bopha death toll climbs over 500, search continues (PHOTOS)

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/philippines/121215/philippines-christmas-truce-reportedly-being-v