GOVERNMENT forces have clashed with a group of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) “lost command” rebels in a remote area in Zamboanga City, leaving one rebel dead.

Colonel Santiago Baluyut, chief of the military's Task Force Zamboanga (TFZ), said the clash took place around 6 p.m. Thursday in Sitio Gilid in the village of Curuan, near Sibuco in Zamboanga del Norte.

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Baluyut said the firefight erupted after the combined Army and militiamen forces chanced upon the rebels while patrolling in the area.

The slain rebel is a follower of Edgar Talani and Aslan Karaw, whose group is operating in the hinterlands of Zamboanga City and Zamboanga del Norte.

The troops intensified the conduct of patrols in the hinterlands following reports that unidentified gunmen had been extorting from the civilians.

Most of the residents in the hinterlands are into farming. (Bong Garcia)