Three members of the New People’s Army were killed and various war materiel, including firearms and explosives, were seized when government forces clashed with the rebel group in Talacogon, Agusan del Sur, the military said.
The slain rebels, composed of two males and a female, remain unidentified, said Maj. Francisco Garello, Army 402nd Brigade civil-military operations officer.
“One of the males looks young. We do not know yet how old he is, but he was found with a gun,” Garello said by phone.
The other male and the female appear to be in their late 20s or early 30s, he said, adding that all fatalities were wearing boots and had large bags.
Members of the 26th Infantry Battalion encountered more or less seven rebels around 2 p.m. Monday, in Sitio Damming, Brgy. Zillovia.
The rebels are believed to be under Guerrilla Front 88, a unit of the North-Central Mindanao Regional Committee. According to the military the unit has a “dwindling” number of personnel.
They engaged troops in a 5-minute firefight before the survivors withdrew, Garello said.
No casualty was reported among the soldiers, who also recovered an M16 rifle, two shotguns, a caliber-.38 handgun, two grenades, an anti-personnel mine, and various rounds of ammunition at the clash site.
Also recovered there were five cellphones, a pair of binoculars, medical paraphernalia, 15 sets of battle dress attire, caps, combat boots, and documents, said Garello.
Troops are still pursuing the other rebels, he added.
Brig. Gen. Maurito Licudine, 402nd Brigade commander, assured that the slain rebels will be turned over to their families for decent and proper burial once they are identified.
“We reiterate our call to the remaining members of the NPA to voluntarily surrender and heed the call of peace. Our troops will be relentless in pursuing them, there is no other way for them but to lay down their arms or continue hiding and be hunted,” he added.