Two Philippine government militiamen and a rebel were killed and a soldier and three farmers were wounded in a firefight in Southern Philippines on Monday, the military said Tuesday.
Captain Christian Cuy, spokesman for the Philippine Army's 4th Infantry Division, said the troops from the 23rd Cadre Battalion were sent to Esperanza, a town in Southern Philippine province of Agusan del Sur Monday morning upon tip-off of the presence of suspect members of leftist rebel group of New People's Army (NPA) in the area.
They ran into around 30 rebels while patrolling a farmland in Esperanza at about 8:30 a.m. Monday, said Cuy. The two sides traded fires for about 45 minutes until the insurgents withdrew, leaving two militiamen and a rebel dead, he said.
He added that the fighting also resulted in the wounding of a soldier, Sergeant Danilo Alamban, who was supervising the militiamen in the area; and three civilians who were tilling their farms.
Cuy said that government troops were still going after the rebels.
"As of now, troops from the 26th Infantry Battalion are on hot pursuit operations," he said.