Five New People’s Army (NPA) members were killed while sevaral high-powered firearms were seized as government troops clashed with the rebel group in Alabel, Sarangani, on Monday, the military said.

The slain rebels’ bodies were recovered but their identities have yet to be determined, 1Lt. Vergel Lacambra, public affairs officer of the Army’s 10th Infantry Division, said by phone.

The clash in Sitio Tugal, Brgy. Datal Anggas, erupted around 8 a.m.

Elements of the 73rd Infantry Battalion encountered about 30 rebels led by alias “Lucas,” secretary of the NPA Far-South Mindanao Regional Committee’s Front 75, Lacambra said.

Two MG-520 attack helicopters from the Air Force provided close-air support to the ground troops, he said.

No one was hurt among the government troops, who also recovered two AK-47 rifles, an M653 Baby Armalite rifle, and three M16 rifles from the rebels, Lacambra said. (John Roson)

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