A hut at the clash site in Candoni. (photo courtesy of Army 303rd Brigade)

A woman believed to be a New People’s Army (NPA) member was killed when government troops clashed with the rebel group in Candoni, Negros Occidental, early Tuesday, the military said.

The fatality has been identified as Julia Pacheco Tabat, about 40 years old and a “medical officer” of the rebel group, Maj. Enrico Ileto, Army 3rd Infantry Division spokesman, said.

Tabat has pending warrants of arrest at the Ilog-Candoni Municipal Trial Court for attempted murder and two counts of frustrated murder, he said.

The clash occurred around 5:30 a.m. in Brgy. East.

Tabat. (photo from Army 303rd Brigade)

Capt. Christopher Cunanan, information officer of the 303rd Brigade based in Murcia, said the 47th Infantry Battalion sent soldiers to the area after receiving information that rebels were recruiting minors.

“May natanggap kasi na info na may recruitment doon ang NPA, nire-recruit nila ay minors aged 15 and up, so nag-patrol ang tropa to verify pero pinutukan naman sila, kaya nag-retaliate ang tropa,” Cunanan said by phone.

The rebels withdrew after a 10-minute firefight, leaving Tabat behind, he said.

Troops also found at the site documents with “high intelligence value,” a backpack, and personal belongings.

Members of the 47th IB are still pursuing the other rebels, Ileto said. (John Roson)

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