Philippine security forces killed at least five suspected communist guerrillas in two clashes in the southern Mindanao region during the weekend, the military said Tuesday.
A group of 20 soldiers on foot patrol on Sunday in the town of Carmen in Surigao del Sur province came upon 10 men believed to be New People’s Army (NPA) guerrillas, who engaged the troops in a gunbattle for several minutes, said Capt. Francisco Garello, the local army spokesman.
“We’ve been monitoring their presence since the May 13 elections. We moved against them when we realized they were still there after the elections,” Garello said, referring to the midterm polls in which millions of voters chose more than 18,000 local officials and 12 members of the Philippine Senate.
“The soldiers and rebels were chasing each other,” he said. “It was a running gunbattle for 15 minutes.”