Two women, allegedly members of the New People’s Army (NPA), were killed when government troops clashed with the rebel group in Lopez, Quezon, early Sunday, military spokesmen said.

The clash occurred around 7:50 a.m. while members of the 85th Infantry Battalion were patrolling in Sitio Dalancan, Brgy. Sta. Catalina, Col. Generoso Bolina, Armed Forces Southern Luzon Command spokesman, said.

The troops encountered 11 rebels and firefight lasted for 30 minutes, he said.

Soldiers found the slain rebels’ bodies after the clash and brought them to village officials for identification, Bolina said, adding that no one from the government side was hurt.

Also recovered from the site were two M16 rifles, two improvised explosive devices, a back pack, and subversive documents.

Major Harold Cabunoc, Army spokesman, said soldiers were sent to the area after the 85th IB received reports that rebels were carrying out extortion activities there.

“The Army has continuously received complaints from local residents about the extortion activities of the NPA in the area. Soldiers are deployed both for security operations and the peace and development missions in the far-flung villages,” he said.

Pursuit operations were launched against the other rebels, who escaped after the fighting, Cabunoc said. (John Roson)

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