GENERAL SANTOS CITY-- Fierce fighting erupted Friday morning between government troops and suspected New People's Army (NPA) rebels in an upland village in Tampakan town in South Cotabato.
Sr. Insp. Harold Cornel, Tampakan municipal police station chief, said the clashes ensued after about 50 heavily-armed rebels attacked a detachment of the Citizen's Armed Forces Geographical Unit at around 7:15 a.m.
He said there were no immediate reports of casualties from both sides.
Citing reports from village officials, he said Cafgu personnel manning the detachment managed to fight back, triggering the firefight.
Cornel said the Army's 27th Infantry Battalion immediately sent reinforcements to the site, which is located near the base camp of mining firm Sagittarius Mines Inc.
"It's (fighting) still ongoing at this time and there were already reports of evacuations in nearby communities," he said in an interview before noon over radio station dxKR.
Sr. Supt. Franklin Alvero, South Cotabato police director, said he has sent police personnel to the area to assist the operations.
He alerted all police offices and stations in the province for possible attacks from other NPA units.
Prior to the incident, the police officials said they monitored movements of NPA rebels in the hinterland areas of the province.
He specifically cited parts of Barangay Ned in Lake Sebu and the province's boundaries with Sarangani Province in T'boli town and with Sultan Kudarat in Tampakan.
Alvero said the rebel movements started a day after NPA rebels ambushed a unit of the Philippine Marines in Sitio Tinangdanan, Barangay Hinalaan in Kalamansig, Sultan Kudarat that killed a trooper and wounded eight others.
Source: Philippines News Agency