Army troops clash with rebels in North Cotabato

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ZAMBOANGA CITY: Government troops clashed with New People’s Army rebels in the southern Philippine province of North Cotabato, officials said Wednesday. Major Ezra Balagtey, a spokesman for the Eastern Mindanao Command, said the fighting occurred in Barangay Sumalili, Arakan town and lasted for 20 minutes. He said there were no casualties on both sides, but troops from the 84th Infantry Battalion have recovered an AK-47 assault rifle, a caliber .45 pistol, two fragmentation grenades, three magazines and ammunition for an M-16 automatic rifle, a rifle grenade (including 10 jungle packs) and a medical kit. Balagtey said the soldiers were patrolling the village when they ran into a group of communist rebels and a firefight ensued. The NPA has been waging a separatist war for many decades now in an effort to overthrow the democratic government and install a Maoist state in the country.

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