FIVE New People’s Army rebels were killed in skirmishes with elite government troops in Tagoloan II town in Lanao del Sur on Tuesday morning, the military reported yesterday.
Troops from the 1st Special Battalion were deployed to Barangay Gayakay in Tagoloan, near Talakag town in Bukidnon, after the military received reports of NPA extortion activities in the area.
The soldiers first clashed with the rebels, numbering around 30 men, at around 9 a.m., according to Maj. Rodulfo Cordero Jr., spokesman of the Army’s 4th Infantry Division based in Cagayan de Oro City.
The insurgents withdrew after a one-hour firefight but pursuing troops caught up with them in the same barangay at around 11 a.m. The second firefight lasted for 30 minutes, said Cordero.
During clearing operations, the troops recovered five bodies, three M16 rifles, two Garand rifles and an M14 rifle.
No one was reported killed or injured on the military side.
4th ID commander Maj. Gen. Andres Centino said operations against the rebels will continue until they surrender or abandon the armed struggle.
Centino said the slain rebels, whose identities are still being determined in coordination with local government officials, will be given a decent burial.