LEGAZPI CITY: Eight suspected members of communist New People’s Army (NPA) rebels, two of them females, were killed in a 35-minute firefight before dawn at Upper Calmayon, an outskirt village of Juban town in Sorsogon province, Col. Joselito Kakilala, commanding officer of the Army’s 903rd Infantry Brigade told The Manila Times.
Kakilala said the gun battle was fought some five meters away from the rebel camp where his men retrieved five M16 rifles, two M203 grenade launchers and one improvised explosive device.
Army troops led by Lt. Alfie Ayo engaged more than 25 heavily armed rebels. Kakilala said there was no casualty from the government side and no civilians were reported hurt during the encounter.
Kakilala said the corpses of the fallen rebels are being brought down to Juban town police station for identification and proper disposition.
But if no one claims the corpses, Kakilala said they will provide them decent burial.
A report from Philippine National Police regional command at Camp Simeon Ola here said the slain rebels belong to the Larangan 2 Sorsogon combat operation group. The report added the rebels were in the village on temporary encampment wahen the army soldiers pounced on them.
According to Kakilala, the rebels have become elusive because they know civilians are on the watch for them.
He said the latest encounter stemmed from information that local residents provided. Too, civilians in the area have grown tired of being mulcted by rebels.
The Maoist armed group has been waging war against government forces for 44 year—and goes into the books as the longest communist insurgency in Southeast Asia.