GOVERNMENT forces have seized high-powered firearms following a confrontation with a group of New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in the tri-boundaries of the towns of Amai Manabilang, Lumba-Bayabao, and Maguing, Lanao del Sur, a top military official announced Saturday, January 22, 2022.

Lieutenant General Greg Almerol, commander of the Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom), said the clash ensued Thursday, January 20, after concerned citizens reported the presence of some 30 NPA rebels to the troops under the 403rd Brigade's 1st Special Forces Battalion (1SFBn).

The 1SFBn troops have been pursuing the remnants of the NPA’s North Central Mindanao Regional Committee’s (NCMRC) Sub-Regional Committee 4 (SRC4) and SRC5 in Lanao del Sun hinterlands.

Almerol said the firefight lasted for about two hours, after which the NPA rebels scampered to different directions.

Bloodstains were found in the withdrawal route of the NPA rebels while the troops suffered no casualty.

Almerol said the troops seized five high-powered firearms composed of two M16 rifles, an M653 rifle, an M14 rifle, an AK-47 rifle, assorted magazines for M16, M14 and AK-47, five linked of ammunitions for M60 general purpose machine gun (GPMG), 208 rounds of AK-47 ammunitions, three bandoliers, four cellular phones, assorted medical supplies and paraphernalia, backpacks with personal belongings, subversive documents, and food supplies.

He said the troops of the 403rd Infantry Brigade launched pursuit operations against the fleeing NPA members in coordination with military units in the adjacent areas.

Almerol lauded the troops for the successful recovery of firearms, which he said will reduce the NPA’s capacity to use them against innocent civilians.

“Team Eastmincom will not stop until the communist insurgency ends. We will finish the job before June 2022, as the CTG (communist terrorist group) had already suffered major blows in the intensive focused military operations conducted by Eastmincom,” Almerol added. (SunStar Zamboanga)