2 soldiers, 1 alleged rebel wounded in encounter

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews/16 October) – Two Army soldiers and one alleged New People’s Army rebel were wounded in an encounter Saturday in Makilala, North Cotabato,

1Lt. Silver Belvis, 39th Infantry Battalion spokesperson identified the soldiers as Pfc Gella and Pvt Labnaw, and the alleged rebel as Randy Indo, of Sta. Cruz in Davao del Sur, who is said to be a member of the militia of NPA Front 51.

Indo suffered several gunshot wounds and was brought to the Cotabato Provincial Hospital in Amas Complex, Belvis said.

The encounter occurred along the boundary of barangays Biangan and Batasan, both in Makilala. It started around 6:30 a.m. on Saturday when some 30 fully armed rebels attacked a detachment of the 39th IB.

Belvis said at least hundred mostly Manobo families evacuated.

He said the Army used artillery support (105mm howitzer) during the encounter.

Some of the evacuees had already returned to their homes on Sunday, but others decided to stay with their relatives as the situation in the area was still ‘volatile,’ he said.

He added that the soldiers recovered some improvised explosive devices one of which looked like a “pressure-type landmine”.

“This is my first time to see an explosive like that,” he said.

He said he turned over the IED to the explosives and ordnance disposal team to determine its type.

He said that if it’s indeed a pressure-type landmine, “we will file the necessary complaint against the NPAs in a proper venue” for violation of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law.

The rest of the bombs recovered by the 39th IB had no electrical wiring and blasting caps. (Malu Cadelina Manar/MindaNews)