CAGAYAN DE ORO, Philippines (AP) _ Tribesmen armed with spears and backed by government troops killed a regional rebel leader and five other guerrillas while repulsing an attack by communist rebels, the military said today.

Col. Pedro Yanes, deputy regional commander of the Philippine Constabulary, said four militiamen were wounded in the battle, which occurred Thursday in the mountain village of Tama, 485 miles southeast of Manila on Mindanao island.

Yanes said the rebels attacked the Higaonon tribesmen at the same moment that government troops on patrol were passing through the village.

The report said the slain rebels included Huncad Mandahinog, the No. 3 man in the communist New People's Army on Mindanao island. There was a $4,000 reward offered for Mandahinog.

Yanes said Mandahinog decided to attack the village because the local tribal chief, his uncle, and other tribesmen refused to join the rebels.

The report said the rebels took several villagers hostage during their retreat but later released them all unharmed.