Eight suspected New People’s Army (NPA) members and a soldier got killed as government troops clashed with the rebel group in Tineg, Abra, on Monday.

The encounter between members of the 41st Infantry Battalion and about 20 rebels erupted in Brgy. Caganayan around 7:45 a.m. and firefight was still ongoing around 4 p.m., according to Army chief Lt. Gen. Arturo Ortiz.

Troops recovered from the scene the bodies of two female rebels, six male rebels, and eight high-powered firearms, he said.

A separate statement from the Army headquarters in Manila, quoting 41st IB commander Lt. Col. Noel Baluyan, identified the slain soldier as Cpl. Lloyd Tega.

Military gunships and Huey helicopters were sent to the area in the afternoon to provide “close air support” to ground troops and insert more personnel, Ortiz said.

Meanwhile, police said suspected NPA members also barged into a “religious camp” and poultry farm in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon, early Monday.

Citing field reports, PNP spokesman Chief Supt. Agrimero Cruz said some 20 rebels “harassed” Mt. Moriah Camp and the New Faith Children’s Home at sa Sitio Pal-ing, Brgy. Patpat, around 3:45 a.m.

It was not immediately known what kind of harassment was carried out, but Cruz said the 13 foreigners billeted at the area were safe.

Around 4:40 a.m., some 14 fully-armed rebels disarmed Roel Achachos, a security guard of the Azura Poultry Farm, also in Sitio Pal-ing, Brgy. Patpat.

“The suspects carted the security guard’s issued shotgun, took some chicken, and fled on board a mini-dump truck heading towards the Hernandez Farm area,” Cruz said, citing information from the Northern Mindanao regional police. (John Roson)

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