Government troops clashed with a band of New People’s Army (NPA) members in Casiguran, Sorsogon, early Wednesday, prompting security forces to raise alert in the province.

Supt. Renato Bataller, Bicol regional police spokesman, said the clash occurred around 5 a.m. at Sitio Marinas, Brgy. Boton.

Members of the Army’s 31st Infantry Battalion were conducting a “strike operation” when they encountered about 20 fully-armed rebels, Bataller said, citing initial field reports.

The firefight lasted for about 20 minutes, he said.

Maj. Angelo Guzman, spokesman of the Army’s 9th Infantry Division, said he heard there was a “body count” on the rebel side, but is still confirming it.

No soldier was hurt during the clash, Guzman and Bataller said.

Police in adjacent towns were ordered to conduct checkpoints and intensify intelligence monitoring after the clash, Bataller said.

They were also directed to check different hospitals in the province for patients being treated for bullet wounds, he added. (John Roson)

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