ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/03 April) – Two soldiers were killed while 12 others were wounded in an ambush by suspected New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in Surigao del Sur on Wednesday night, the military said.
Col. Romeo Brawner, Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) spokesperson said attack occurred around 9 p.m. Wednesday in Sitio Ban-as, Barangay Mahayag in San Miguel town.
Brawner said the troops were on a five-truck convoy on the way to the 401st Infantry Brigade headquarters in Barangay Patin-ay, Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur for a Holy Week retreat when one of the trucks tripped on an improvised landmine.
He identified the fatalities as Sgt. Luisito Marimon and Cpl. Rey Gerson, both of the Army’s 4th Artillery Battalion.
He said the soldiers engaged the rebels in a 10-minute gunfight resulting in the death of one guerrilla and the capture of another.
Other reports quoting military sources said only six or seven soldiers were wounded in the landmine attack.
The same reports did not mention any NPA casualty but said a civilian was killed and another one was wounded when they were caught in the crossfire.
Brawner meanwhile said the casualties were taken to a hospital in Tandag City while the captured NPA rebel was brought to the headquarters of the 36th Infantry Battalion for initial investigation and then turned over to the police.
He said Lt. Gen. Aurelio Baladad, Eastmincom chief, was saddened by the incident and condemned the NPA’s disrespect of the observance of the Holy Week.
The NPA has not issued a statement on the incident. (MindaNews)