KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews/11 November) — A soldier was killed while two others were wounded in an ambush by some 20 suspected communist guerrillas in a remote village in Makilala, North Cotabato, around 7 a.m. today, reports from the Army said.
Lt. Col. Joven Gonzales, commander of the 57th Infantry Battalion, identified the slain soldier as Pfc. Alex Calon of the Charlie Company.
Wounded were Cpl. Hassan Sarif and Pfc. Dandie Garbo, also elements of the 57th IB.
Sarif is the team leader of the soldiers securing Purok-6 of Barangay Batasan, one of the areas in Makilala town said to be heavily influenced by Front 51 of the New Peoples’ Army (NPA).
Gonzales said the soldiers were on their way to the command post located a few kilometres away from their detachment to recharge their batteries and get their food supplies when the rebels positioned on a hilltop opened fire.
“The Army detachment at Purok-6, one of our farthest outposts, has no electricity so our soldiers have to recharge their cell phone and radio batteries in our command post located at the center of the village,” he said.
Calon, who was walking behind Sarif and Garbo, was badly hit and died on the spot.
“I just took cover and ran for safety. I saw how the soldier died after he was hit. The other two soldiers also took cover but they were also wounded,” said Raymond, 16, not his real name.
Gonzales said the soldiers were in civilian attire, and only one of them brought a firearm.
The attack reportedly caused panic among the residents.
Rubber planter Edgar Guzon said he decided to stay at home instead of going to his farm when he heard gunshots.
The Barangay Peacekeeping Action Team in Batasan called for an emergency meeting to discuss the latest NPA attack.
They feared the unstable peace and order situation in their village might affect the completion of two government projects: a school building and road rehabilitation. (Malu Cadelina Manar/MindaNews)