CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindnanao: The military here has intensified its pursuit operations against a band of communist guerillas harassing farmers in a remote village in North Cotabato.
Troops belonging to 39th Infantry Battalion (IB) and New Peoples Army (NPA) clashed at dawn on Friday in Barangay Balite in Magpet town, leaving two rebels dead, according to Capt. Danny Boy Catapang.
Catapang, speaking for the 39th IB, said two high-powered firearms were also seized during the clash in Sitio Lukuakon, Balite and in nearby Sitio Boay-Boay, Barangay Basak. Magpet is one of the towns in the province infiltrated by communist rebels.
Catapang said residents of the two sub-villages tipped off the military about the presence of heavily armed men asking for food supplies from farmers at gunpoint.
As the military was responding, they were fired upon by about 40 NPAs, triggering a brief firefight.
Another gunfight erupted in a nearby village when retreating guerillas clashed with another group of soldiers.
Government forces recovered high-powered firearms and improvised bomb-making materials from slain rebels, who remained unidentified.
No casualty was reported on the government side, Catapang said.
Clearing operations are still ongoing after reports that NPAs from nearby villages in the border of North Cotabato and Davao City have been massing.