Soldier, suspected rebel killed in Isabela clash
CITY OF ILAGAN – A soldier and a suspected communist rebel were killed in an ongoing clash that began at 5 a.m. on Thursday (Aug. 16), a day after the New People’s Army admitted accosting an environmental task force in far-flung Sindon Bayabo here, the military said.
The fatalities, still unidentified, were killed in a gunbattle between soldiers of the Army’s 95th Infantry Battalion and 40 armed men, said Captain Noriel Tayaban, officer-in-charge of the 5th Infantry Division’s Public Affairs Office.
The military deployed air strike teams and ground reinforcement as the battle continued to rage, Tayaban said.
The clash came after the Reynaldo Piñon Command of the NPA Central Isabela Front announced in a statement that it was responsible for disarming members of Task Force Kalikasan, who were manning the checkpoint in Sindon Bayabo village, the gateway to the construction of the 81-km Ilagan-Divilacan road.
The rebels claimed that task force members have engaged in extortion and human rights violations, citing instances of alleged escorting of illegally cut logs from the mountains to log ponds or stockpile areas.
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