• At least three NPA rebels killed in clash with Army

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    Upi, Gamu, Isabela: At least three communist rebels were killed in a clash with government troops in Barangay Butac, Aguinaldo, Ifugao on Sunday.

    Army troopers of the 54th Infantry Battalion also recovered six high-powered firearms in the said gunfight with around 20 fully armed New People’s Army (NPA).

    First Lt. Rowena Abayon, public affairs officer of the army’s 5th Infantry Division (5th ID), said that the clash, which lasted a few minutes, ensued between government troops and NPA rebels at about 5:30 a.m. Col. Loreto Magundayao, spokesperson of the 5th ID, confirmed that the three bodies that were recovered after the firefight were NPA rebels.

    He said that, villagers also saw the rebels carrying their heavily wounded comrades while retreating to the hinterlands.

    “We are certain that they [NPA] suffered not only three fatalities but more, besides their heavily wounded colleagues,” Magundayao said.

    The Ifugao police are in the area to conduct a body count of NPA fatalities and their proper disposition, reports said. Army troopers also recovered three M16 rifles, two M14 rifles and an M203 grenade launcher from the site of the clash.

    Information allegedly from disgruntled members cited that the rebel group belonged to the Kilusang Larangang Guerilla Marko under a certain Artos Talastas, also known as commander Libre or Layden. Magundayao said that, the intensified conduct of security operations “is aimed to flush out the other remnants of local terrorists.”

    ”This is the mandate of the soldiers to protect and secure the people from any threats that hamper the achievement of a just and lasting peace,” Magundayao said.

    On Friday, a firefight also broke out between government forces of the Army’s 41st Infantry Battalion and suspected NPA rebels in Barangay Gacab, Malibcong, Abra province, injuring several communist rebels.

    Also recovered by government troops at the encounter site is an M653 rifle and personal belongings.

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