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Gunfight erupts between troopers, rebels in Kalinga

BAGUIO CITY— Government troopers fought with New People's Army rebels on two occasions in Balbalan town, Kalinga on Friday morning.

The first skirmish between the Philippine Army’s 54th Infantry Battalion under the 503rd Infantry Brigade and rebels from the Kilusang Larangang Gerilya (KLG) codenamed “Baggas” occurred at around 6 a.m. in Barangay Balbalan Proper.

Four hours later, troopers from the Philippine Army’s 103rd Infantry Battalion clashed with rebels in barangay Maling, also in Balbalan.

Authorities have not reported any fatality from the twin armed encounters.

Philippine Army Major Rigor Pamittan, spokesperson of the Gamu, Isabela-based 5th Infantry Division said that the rebel group who fought soldiers on Friday morning were the same group who fought with soldiers in Sitio Danga, Barangay Balantoy, Balbalan on May 31, 2024 where a certain NPA rebel Gaio-idan Claver Bawit, alias “Ka Akma/Simple”, was wounded and left behind by his comrades.

Five days later, on Thursday,  authorities found Bawit in pain under a huge boulder in Sitio Saleng, Barangay Balantoy, also in Balbalan, where he took refuge.

Pamittan said that soldiers brought Bawit to the hospital for his wounds. 

Bawit has a warrant of arrest for attempted and frustrated murder.