THREE New People's Army (NPA), including top ranking NPA rebel of the Far South Mindanao Region (FSMR), were killed in a clash with troops in the hinterlands of Sultan Kudarat province, the military reported.

Reports from the Army's 57th Infantry Battalion (IB) showed the clash happened Saturday morning, July 30, in Baluan village, Palimbang municipality, Sultan Kudarat.

The slain NPA rebels were identified as Ian Dela Rama alias Ka Cris the Regional Operations Command head of the NPA's FSMR.

Dela Rama was the former secretary of the Front 4A of the NPA's North Central Mindanao Regional Committee and has standing warrant of arrest for the crime of arson.

The other two slain NPA were identified as Valerio Lacumbo of the Ordnance Division of the FSMR and Wilmer Dela Cruz, of the Sub-Regional Committee Daguma also of the FSMR.

Lacumbo has standing warrant of arrest for the crime of robbery with violence against or intimidation of person.

Lieutenant General Alfredo Rosario Jr., Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) chief, said the clash ensued as the troops are continuously pursuing the NPA rebels in Palimbang, Sultan Kudarat.

Rosario said the troops have recovered an M16A1 and Garand rifles with ammunition, a grenade, two caliber .45 pistols, 11 cellular phones and other personal belongings.

Rosario said the troops will continue to conduct focused military operations and maximize intelligence monitoring to disallow the menaces of society to thrive in the peaceful communities.

"Let us continue to work to dismantle all the remaining terrorist groups in our areas of operations," Rosario told the troops. (SunStar Zamboanga)