Jamaican authorities say three suspected gang members have been fatally shot by police in a security operation in a western parish.

The Jamaica Constabulary Force said Sunday that the gunbattle erupted when officers from the Westmoreland division looking for members of a local gang were confronted by men armed with high-powered rifles.

The police statement says three men it describes as members of the Alma Gang were fatally shot in the exchange of gunfire. Ninety-four bullets and four firearms, including an M-16 assault rifle and a shotgun, were seized by police.

Commissioner Owen Ellington praised officers in the incident, saying they went beyond the call of duty.

An independent commission looking into alleged police abuses is expected to investigate recent fatal shootings by Jamaican officers.