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Soldier, NPA member killed; assorted weapons captured in Bukidnon, North Cotabato clashes

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A soldier and an alleged member of the communist New People’s Army (NPA) were killed and 16 firearms and two International Humanitarian Law (IHL) banned landmines were captured by the government troops after successive encounters in Bukidnon and nearby Arakan town in North Cotabato, military said.

The encounters took place on April 7 to 11 following the community information about the presence of the NPA rebels.

On Friday, April 12 , a platoon of 3rd Infantry Battalion (3IB) while conducting clearing in the vicinity of Sitio Pulang Lupa, Brgy Sinuda, Kitaotao, Bukidnon, captured three M16 rifles believed to be left by the fleeing rebels encountered earlier, Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) said.

It noted that the troops of the same unit encountered in two instances an undetermined number of NPA rebels in the hinterland of Sitio Ngaran, Barangay Kipilas, Kitaotao in the morning of April 7.

The Maoist rebels left one of their slain comrades; one AK47 rifle; one M653 rifle; one M16 rifle; three cal. 45 pistols; one IHL banned landmine; one combat pack; personal belongings and subversive documents after they scampered to different directions.

Community information led to another encounter on April 9 by the same battalion with the rebels believed to belong from the same group in the periphery of Purok 11, Sitio Pulang Lupa, Barangay Sinuda, Kitaotao in the morning and afternoon of April 9.

The firefight resulted in the capture of five AK47 rifles, one IHL banned improvised landmine and landmine paraphernalia, two grenades, seven cellphones, five backpacks, and subversive documents.

Pursuing troops were able to track the fleeing rebels and again engaged them in an encounter in Sitio Ngaran, Barangay Kipilas, Kitaotao in the morning of April 10. The fleeing NPA members left two AK 47 rifle and AK 47 ammunition.

On a separate occasion, the troops from the 88th Infantry Battalion encountered another group of NPA rebels in Sta. Felomina, Quezon, Bukidnon, noon of April 9.

The 15-minute firefight caused the life of one soldier identified as Private First Class Jonathan Solis, Eastmincom said.

In the periphery of Barangay Balete, Arakan, North Cotabato, troops from 901st Infantry Brigade engaged in a brief encounter undetermined number of NPA rebels after the troops responded to the information of armed men thereat.

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