2 soldiers killed, 8 wounded in NPA clash in Zamboanga
ZAMBOANGA CITY – Two army soldiers were killed and 8 others wounded in fierce clashes with communist rebels in Zamboanga del Norte province in southern Philippines, police said on Monday.
Police said the fighting erupted over the weekend in Tinaplan village in Sindangan town. It said the clashes between members of the 44th Infantry Battalion and New People’s Army also left a still undetermined number of casualties on the rebel side.
“The second encounter resulted to the killed in action of two and wounded in action of eight members of the Philippine Army with undetermined body count from enemy side. The wounded elements of 44th Infantry Battalion were already transported via ambulance to Dipolog City for immediate medication,” police said in a report sent to the regional newspaper Mindanao Examiner.
It said Special Forces soldiers also clashed with about 40 rebels in Leon Postigo town earlier in the day and the firefight lasted only 10 minutes. “The firefight lasted for ten minutes with no reported harmed or injured (on the military side) after which the troops were able to recovered three M203 (rifle grenade) ammunition, fifteen improvised explosives, medical paraphernalia and subversive documents,” police said.
But the military’s Western Mindanao Command said a rebel was killed and that 6 more gunmen had been wounded in the fighting in Leon Postigo town. And it did not report its own casualties. Army Captain Jo-ann Petinglay, its spokeswoman, said rebels also commandeered a vehicle and briefly hostage its driver who allegedly told the military that the gunmen escaped with their casualties.
“The driver who was forced by the communists to extract them away from the engagement area informed the security forces that he saw them carrying one killed communist and six wounded,” Petinglay said, adding, no soldiers were hurt from in fighting.
She said another rebel, Allen Condez, also surrendered to the military in Guipos town in the neighboring province of Zamboanga del Sur. Petinglay said the rebel yielded to the 53rd Infantry Battalion and is currently being interrogated. There was no immediate statement from the communist group.
Peace talks between the government and rebels stalled with the NPA accusing President Rodrigo Duterte of failing to release all political prisoners as a precondition to the signing of a ceasefire agreement. The military, on the other hand, blamed the rebels for deadly attacks despite the peace negotiations. (Mindanao Examiner)
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