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6 soldiers killed, 20 hurt in Samar clash with suspected NPA rebels

Six government troops were killed while 20 others were injured following an encounter with suspected members of the News People's Army in Borongan, Eastern Samar on Tuesday.

An initial information indicated that members of the 14th Infantry Battalion had a 30-minute firefight with more or less 50 communist rebels in Barangay Pinana-an.

Authorities said six improvised explosive device had exploded prior to the encounter.

Captain Reynaldo Aragones, spokesman of the Army's 8th Infantry Division, said security forces had obtained information that armed communists were in the area trying to extort money from residents.

"In response pinuntahan ng tropa natin... 'yun nga at naireport na may malapit na kampuhan doon, at 'yun nga ang nangyari, nagkaroon nga ng engkwentro," Aragones said.

The identities of the killed soldiers were not yet disclosed as their families are not yet informed of the incident. 

Aragones said immediate assistance for the bereaved families of the killed soldiers as well as those wounded are already being readied by authorities.

Authorities said one suspected communist, who is not yet identified, was also killed in the encounter.

Pursuit operation against the communist rebels is ongoing, according to Aragones.

"Hopefully na maano natin itong mga pagawaan nila ng mga... kasi kadalasan kasi sa mga kampo nila ito 'yung pagawaan nila ng mga bomba," Aragones said. — KBK/RSJ, GMA News