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4-HOUR BATTLE WITH REBELS

6 soldiers dead, 6 others hurt in NPA ambush in Samar

Updated @ 1:12 a.m., April 24, 201o, to add more details

TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines — Six soldiers were killed and six others were wounded in a clash with communist rebels in Calbiga town, Samar province, early on Tuesday, military reports said.

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Lt. Col. Noel Cagasan, 46th Infantry Battalion (IB) commander, said the government troops, led by Sgt. Gilbert Benito, were on security patrol in Barangay Biri to verify the presence of New People’s Army (NPA) rebels allegedly conducting extortion activities when they encountered 20 armed men.

During the four-hour firefight that started at past 2 a.m., an improvised explosive device blast killed six of the soldiers and wounded six others.

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A report received by the 46th IB identified the slain soldiers as Cpls. Junurimbran Mamalo Jr. and Edgar Abing; Pfcs. First Class Arthur Garcia and Rufino Paster Jr.; and Pvts. Danilo Constantino Jr. and Elben Lagrimas.

The wounded soldiers were identified only through their surnames — Sergeant Benito; Privates First Class Magoncia, Friguillana and Salonga; Corporal Vigilla; and Private Espanol.

Lt. Karen Cadano, assistant civil military operations officer of the 46th IB, said the clash site was more than 13 kilometers from the Calbiga town center.

Cagasan said the rebels had also suffered casualties as “indicated by blood stains along the way of their escape.”

Maj. Gen. Raul Farnacio, 8th Infantry Division commander, ordered his troops to pursue the rebels, saying they would “not allow our courageous soldiers’ sacrifice to be wasted.”

Farnacio gave assurance that assistance and benefits would be given to the families of the slain and wounded soldiers.

Cotabato gunfight

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In North Cotabato province, two soldiers were wounded in a clash with NPA rebels also on Tuesday morning.

Police said Cpls. William Agno and Jerome Sarayno of the 19th IB were taken by a military helicopter to Antipas Medical Center from the clash site at Sitio Tiwayan in Barangay Badiangon, Arakan town.

Jonel Bayaan, a local farmer, was wounded during the clash and brought to Cotabato Provincial Hospital in Kidapawan City. —With reports from Robert Dejon and Williamor Magbanua

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TAGS: ambush, Local news, New People's Army, NPA, Samar, soldiers
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