3 NPAs killed in Sarangani clashes

GENERAL SANTOS CITY -- Three suspected New People's Army (NPA) members were killed in clashes with government troops on Sunday in a hinterland village in Maasim town, Sarangani Province.

Acting Maasim Mayor Uttoh Salem Cutan said Monday the two encounters were part of the continuing operations against the rebels of the military under the Bravo Company of the Army's 27th Infantry Battalion (IB).

Citing a report from the 27IB and the Maasim municipal police station, Cutan said at least two encounters happened on Sunday in Sitio Hitam-el along the boundary of Barangays Lumasal and Panag.

He said the troops briefly clashed with the rebels at around 9 a.m. and resumed at around 1:30 p.m.

The mayor said three NPA members were confirmed killed in the encounters based on the bodies recovered by 27IB elements at the encounter site.

He said the troops, which did not suffer any casualty, recovered unspecified high-powered firearms from the fatalities.

"We're still waiting for the arrival of the remains of the slain rebels so we can properly identify them and determine where they come from," the mayor said in a radio interview.

As of Monday morning, Cutan said the situation at the clash site has normalized but 27IB troopers are still conducting clearing operations towards portions of Kiamba town.

The Maasim police station has been directed to help monitor and secure the affected communities, he said. (PNA)