Soldier, 4 rebels dead in firefight

KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews/27 April)—A soldier and four alleged New People’s Army rebels were killed in a firefight in a remote village this week, an official said on Friday.

Lt. Col. Alexis Noel C. Bravo, commander of the 27th Infantry Battalion, said that pursuit operations were underway against the communist rebels in the boundary of Columbio, Sultan Kudarat and Magsaysay, Davao del Sur as of Friday.

On Wednesday, some 40 NPA rebels attacked a military detachment in Barangay Bacungan, resulting to a firefight lasting for about 45 minutes, he said.

Bravo did not identify the dead soldier who held the rank of private first class and was from this city.

The rebels, disguising as mining workers, attacked the detachment on board a hijacked forward truck, the military official said.

A militiaman, identified as Dionato Obias, was lightly wounded in the firefight.

Bravo said the NPA rebels left the bodies of their two dead comrades.

Residents reported to the military that the communist guerrillas brought along two more dead bodies, he said.

The withdrawing rebels allegedly abducted five residents in nearby Barangay San Miguel in Magsaysay town to serve as human shields, Bravo said.

They also took away a horse to carry a wounded member, he added.

Bravo said that troops recovered from the encounter site an M-14 rifle, a USAS 12-gauge shotgun, a fragmentation grenade, assorted ammunitions and 20 backpacks.

He identified the alleged abducted residents as Vicente Bunal, Jolly Paimalan, Elmer Entes, Rhyan Banua and Pablo Butaya.

According to 1002nd Brigade Commander, Col. Glorioso V. Miranda, the action by the NPA rebels “was aimed at intimidating the civilians who are supportive of the presence of 27th IB peace and development teams in their barangay.” (Bong Sarmiento/MindaNews)