Map of Bagumbayan, Sultan Kudarat (Photo courtesy of 6ID) 

CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao del Norte – Six communist rebels were killed during clashes with government forces in the hinterlands of Sultan Kudarat province, the Army here said Friday.

Lt. Col. Frederick Chicote, Army’s 7th Infantry Battalion (7IB) commander, said the encounter occurred at 5:30 a.m. Thursday in Sitio Mudti, Barangay Chua, Bagumbayan, Sultan Kudarat.

Soldiers were patrolling the village when they chanced upon a group of about 10 New People’s Army (NPA) rebels.

“The skirmishes lasted for about 30 minutes and the rebels fled deep into the forest, leaving their slain comrades,” Chicote said.

Slain were Dennis Dolunan, an NPA executive committee member and deputy secretary of East Daguma Front of Sub-Regional Command (SRC) Daguma, Far South Mindanao Region; his wife Lailyn who served as medic, Sep Kasa, Jerry Kasa alias Kikil; and two other unidentified fighters.

Government forces recovered an AK-47 rifle, three M16 rifles, ammunition, a motorbike, rebels' personal belongings and subversive documents.

“We suffered no casualty,” Chicote said.

Maj. Gen. Roy Galido, Army’s 6th Infantry Division commander, lauded the 7IB troopers for the accomplishment.

He expressed sadness though over the death of NPA combatants who were misguided and duped to join a useless armed struggle.

“As much as possible, we don’t want lives to be wasted, because we don’t want to see families suffering from the loss of their family members and loved ones” Galido, also the commander of Joint Task Force Central, said.

He appealed to all other enemies of the state to avail of the government’s peace offer. (PNA)