Six communist rebels got killed in a clash with government forces in Mawab, Compostela Valley, Monday afternoon, military officials said.

About 30 armed men, led by a certain Hiker, stormed a banana plantation and commandeered a truck in Brgy. Malinawon around 3:15 p.m., Maj. Jake Obligado, commander of the 10th Civil-Military Operations Battalion, said.

Members of the 66th Infantry Battalion went to the site and were engaged in an hour-long firefight before the attackers withdrew, Obligado said.

Aside from the slain gunmen’s bodies, troops also recovered two M16 rifles, two M14 rifles, and a caliber-30 machine gun, he said.

The attackers are members of the New People’s Army but the military has stopped addressing them by that name, Colonel Leopoldo Galon, Armed Forces Eastern Mindanao Command spokesman, said.

Military and police units in the region decided in a recent meeting to call the NPA an “organized crime group” because of activities like extortion, Galon said.

“It’s not rebellion that we file against them anyway, but extortion, robbery, and murder,” he said. (John Roson)

– end –