CAMP MELCHOR F. DELA CRUZ, Isabela: Five suspected members of the New People’s Army (NPA) were killed in a gunbattle on Thursday morning in Lacub, Abra.
Initial reports said soldiers from the 41st Infantry Battalion (IB) were on patrol when they chanced upon the communist rebels.
The government troops recovered five high-powered firearms from the site.
No casualties were reported on the soldiers’ side.
Lt. Col. Virgilio Noora, commanding officer of the 41st IB, said villagers had tipped authorities on the presence of the NPA rebels, who allegedly were extorting foodstuff from the villagers.
Col. Paul Atal, commander of 503rd Infantry Brigade and who is in charge of Army troops in Abra and nearby provinces, said, “The NPA rebels are no longer welcome in Abra. I think this is the offshoot of [an]incident in Licuan Baay where the NPA executed three civilians a few months ago. The people of Abra are now taking actions to get rid of the NPA in their places.”