NPA rebels ‘killed’ in Davao fighting

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ZAMBOANGA CITY: Soldiers clashed with communist insurgents from the New People’s Army (NPA) on Sunday and killed a still undetermined number of rebel gunmen in Mati City in the southern Mindanao province of Davao Oriental, a military spokesman said.

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Army Capt. Andrew Linao said no casualties were reported on the military side in a 45-minute gunfight in the village of Kauswagan.

The soldiers from the 28th Infantry Battalion recovered two automatic rifles, a rifle grenade, ammunition, radio communication sets and backpacks, according to Linao.

“There were no casualties from the government side while a still undetermined numbers of rebels were killed in the fighting,” he said, adding that government troops were sent to the area after villagers tipped off the military on the presence of NPA rebels there.

On Saturday, three rebels were also killed in fighting in Taytayan village in Davao Oriental’s Cateel town and soldiers recovered five automatic rifles in the area.

The clash took place on the same day that the military battled it out with another group of NPA fighters in Araibo village in Pantukan town in Compostela Valley that also left one rebel leader dead.

Colonel Reuben Basiao, commander of the 701st Infantry Brigade, confirmed the series of clashes with rebel forces and said operations against the NPA will continue.

“Troops are there in the area to secure the people as part of our efforts in conducting community support programs and delivering basic services to the people together with other government agencies. Your Philippine Army here in Davao Oriental will always secure your safety as part of our mandate of protecting the people and securing the land,” he said.

The NPA has been waging a secessionist war for many decades now and despite the ongoing peace talks, fighting also continues in many areas in southern Mindanao.

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