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Soldiers seize NPAs' assault rifles in Bukidnon

COTABATO CITY — Personnel of the Army’s 1003rd Infantry Brigade on Saturday seized 14 assault rifles in an operation in Barangay Lumintao, Quezon town in Bukidnon, first found by farmers in a hut, covered by empty rice sacks and dried banana leaves.

Major Gen. Allan Hambala, commander of the Army’s 10th Infantry Division, announced on Monday that the weapons cache, consisting of eight M16 rifles, an M653 rifle, two M14 rifles, and three AK-47 rifles, is now under the custody of the 1003rd Infantry Brigade.

Hambala said that the operation that led to the confiscation of the 14 firearms was carried out with the help of vigilant farmers in Barangay Lumintao, who reported to the office of Brig. Gen. Marion Angcao, commander of the 1003rd Infantry Brigade, what they discovered while they were collecting firewood in the area.

Barangay officials in Quezon told reporters that a group of New People's Army forcibly collecting monthly “revolutionary tax” from hapless farmers in hinterlands in their municipality owned the 14 assault rifles.

The group reportedly left their firearms in a makeshift shelter in a secluded area in Barangay Lumintao before proceeding to the town proper of Quezon early Saturday to buy food and other supplies that they needed.