Two suspected New People’s Army (NPA) members were killed in a clash with government troops in Montevista, Compostela Valley, early Friday, the military said.

The slain suspects were identified by their parents as Joriben Caipan, 20, and Christopher Mawang, 18, of Brgys. San Jose and Camantangan, Montevista, Lt. Col Lyndon Paniza, spokesman of the Army 10th Infantry Division based in Mawab, said.

Aside from the rebels’ bodies, troops recovered an improvised landmine and a caliber-.45 pistol at the scene, Paniza said in a phone interview.

The clash occurred around 3:30 a.m., when a 15-man team from the 66th Infantry Battalion was patrolling in Brgy. Libanon.

At least seven armed men, believed to be members of the NPA Front Committee 33, fired upon the soldiers who, in turn, retaliated, Paniza said.

“Residents informed the our soldiers that armed men were seen roaming in the area,” Paniza said when asked what prompted the patrol.

“Pinapasalamatan natin ‘yung community, dahil kung hindi dahil sa kanila, ‘yung landmine na ‘yun ay naitanim before makarating yung tropa. So nailigtas ‘yung buhay ng sundalo natin at buhay mismo ng mga sibilyan mula sa landmine,” he added. (John Roson)

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