TWO ranking rebel leaders were killed in an encounter with government troops in Abra province as the number of casualties on the side of the rebels rose to six, with many more believed seriously wounded as soldiers continued with their hot pursuit operation. Maj. Emmanuel Garcia, commander, 1st Civil Relations Group (CRG), identified the two dead ranking New People’s Army leaders as Arnold Jaramillo alias Mando, secretary of the Abra Provincial Party Committee, and Joel Banganan alias Ka Payas, commanding officer of the Komite Larangang Gerilya North. According to Garcia, Banganan was involved in the killing of renegade priest and former Cordillera People’s Liberation Army (CPLA) chief Fr. Conrado Balweg on December 31, 1999 in Brgy. Guanao, Malibcong, Abra.