Troopers from the Eastern Mindanao Command captured three high-powered rebel firearms, two improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and 13 backpacks after a 20-minute firefight with New People's Army (NPA) bandits on Tuesday morning at Sitio Mahu, Barangay Aragon, Cateel, Davao Oriental.
In the same encounter, four soldiers from the 67th Infantry Battalion, a field unit of the Eastern Mindanao Command, were wounded along with an undetermined number of rebels.
The clash took place at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Eastern Mindanao Command spokesperson Lt. Col. Eduardo Gubat said.
Captured were an M-16 automatic rifle, an M-14 carbine and an M-653 rifle.
Gubat said the rebels retreated after the 20-minute firefight.
Pursuit operations are still ongoing as of this posting.
The encounter stemmed from extortion and harassment reports filed by barangay residents against a group of 30 NPA bandits.
As of May 27, there were 69 high-powered firearms and 16 low-powered firearms recovered by Eastern Mindanao Command units as a result of encounters with the NPA bandits in CARAGA and
regions, parts of North Cotabato and Sarangani
province since Jan. 1, 2015.