Update: Number of slain rebels in Tarlac encounter climbs to 7

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The number of New People’s Army (NPA) fighters killed during an encounter with government forces in Camiling town in Tarlac province on Tuesday night has climbed to seven from three reported earlier.

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Col. Henry Sabarre, 703rd Infantry Brigade commander, said that the figure is based on the bodies recovered by the military.

Six of the seven rebels killed were men and a woman, he added.

The firefight started at about 8:45 p.m. on Tuesday while sporadic firing took place until 6 a.m. on Wednesday, Sabarre pointed out.

He added that this was because the rebel position was difficult to assault and the government forces wished to avoid needless casualties to civilians living in the area.

Also recovered were seven high-powered firearms including one general purpose machine gun, one M-14 carbine, a M-653 automatic rifle, three M-16 rifles and assorted rebel documents.

Sabarre said the rebel force consisted of nine heavily-armed individuals of which two managed to escape.

The firefight started when troopers of the 3rd Mechanized Infantry Battalion together with the Tarlac City Provincial Public Safety Company conducted an operation to verify the presence of rebel fighters in Barangay Bobon, Caarosipan, Camiling, Tarlac.

The encounter took place when the government blocking force engaged the withdrawing rebel fighters in the area.

“We don’t know what they are doing in the area but we think there is a high value [NPA] personality considering the number and quality of firearms recovered,” Sabarre pointed out.

He added that they are yet to identify the rebel dead. PNA

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