BACOLOD CITY – A still unidentified New People’s Army (NPA) fighter was killed in a clash with troops of the Philippine Army and the Philippine National Police in Barangay Carabalan, Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental Monday morning.

The first recorded encounter in the province this year came three months after a series of skirmishes took place in the same village that displaced thousands of residents.

Col. Michael Samson, commander of 303rd Infantry Brigade (IBde), said in a statement the troops responded following a tip from the locals in Sitio Maliko-Liko about the presence of an armed group from NPA’s Central Negros 2, Komiteng Rehiyong-Negros, Cebu, Bohol, Siquijor, which were extorting money and asking for food.

According to a report of the 94th Infantry Battalion, government forces engaged about 10 NPA rebels in a five-minute firefight at around 6:30 a.m. that left one of the rebels dead.

After the enemies fled, the soldiers recovered several high-powered firearms, including an M14 rifle with seven magazines of ammunition, an M4 rifle with a magazine of ammunition, and an M79 grenade launcher with four ammunition along with a rifle grenade, two M16 rifles and two bandoliers.

They also found a backpack, NPA flag and subversive documents.

“As the communists-terrorists continue to threaten the peace of our communities, your Army in Negros will be relentless in pursuit of the perpetrators of murder, arson, extortion and other atrocities,” Samson said.

Last year, the clashes in Barangay Carabalan started on Oct. 6, prompting evacuations in affected areas, and the last group of evacuees returned home on Oct. 19.

On Oct. 10, Romeo Nanta, the commanding officer of the Regional Operational Command of the NPA’s Komiteng Rehiyon-Negros, was killed during a clash in Sitio Medel while on Oct. 8, Corporals Christian Drilon and Rex Verde died while six other soldiers were wounded during an encounter in Sitio Sig-ang.(PNA)