KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews / 26 Jan) – Five soldiers were wounded, two of them in critical condition, when a roadside bomb went off in a remote village in Makilala town in North Cotabato 11:30 p.m. Friday, a military official said.
Lt. Nasrullah Sema, civil military operations chief of the 57th Infantry Battalion, identified the blast victims as Cpl. Muhammad Nur Sali, Cpl. Hassan Sarip, Pfc. Allan Urop, Pvt. Michael Purol, and Pvt. Vincent Sumug-oy, all members of 57IB’s Charlie Company.
Two of the wounded remain at the intensive care unit of a hospital here, while others were already declared “out of danger.” All sustained blast injuries in the head and other parts of their bodies, Sema said.
Lt. Manuel Gatus, commander of the Charlie Company, said his men, on board a military vehicle, were on their way to deliver food and other grocery items to a detachment at Sitio Alang-Alang, Barangay Kisante when an improvised explosive device went off.
A firefight that lasted for hours ensued after the blast, Gatus said.
Authorities recovered from the site a 200-meter long detonating cord and other bomb parts.
Sema hinted the bomb attack was a desperate move of the New Peoples’ Army (NPA) to strike back at them after the rebels suffered heavy casualties during recent encounters in Makilala town.
On January 22, government troops clashed with the rebels in Barangay Cabilao that led to the killing of Pfc. Rodolfo Minlaud and the wounding of Cpl. Batutin Ibad and Lt. Dennis Manumbale, executive officer of the 57IB’s Alpha Company.
Meantime, Sema denied reports that the Army fired mortars in areas they believed as rebels’ hideouts.
He explained there is no need to use 105mm mortars to drive the rebels from their bases.
Sema was reacting to a recent statement made by Ka Galna, spokesperson for the NPA Front 72, that the Army conducted mortar shelling in thickly populated communities in Barangays Kisante and Rodero. (Malu Cadelina Manar / MindaNews)