2 soldiers killed, 6 wounded in clash with NPA in Davao del Norte
TAGUM CITY, Davao del Norte, Philippines – At least two soldiers were killed and six others were wounded in a clash with communist rebels in Kapalong, Davao del Norte, early on Tuesday, military and police said.
Sporadic fighting continued throughout the day as troops pursued dozens of New People’s Army rebels after the 7:30 a.m. encounter in the upland village of Gupitan, said Chief Inspector Carl Omar Fiel, Kapalong police station chief.
Government casualties were the result of an improvised explosive device (IED) set off by some 50 guerrillas, Lt. Col. Roberto Bunagan Jr., commander of the Army’s 60th Infantry Battalion, said.
“Our troops have been subjected to an IED attack and we (suffered) two fatalities and six wounded,” Bunagan told the Philippine Daily Inquirer by text message.
“Our troops are on pursuit (operations),” he added.
There were no immediate reports of rebel casualties, Bunagan said.
Capt. Ernest Carolina, information officer of the Army’s 10th Infantry Division, said a section of the 60th IB’s peace and development team (PDT) were on combat patrol in Sitio (Sub-village) Kapatagan when they chanced upon the rebels, sparking a fierce firefight.
Bunagan said the wounded were rushed to a military hospital in Davao City for treatment. Two of the wounded suffered serious injuries.
Tuesday’s fighting occurred in one of Davao del Norte’s frontiers with Bukidnon where guerrillas have been regularly crossing in mounting attacks in the two provinces.
The area, eight hours by foot from the Kapalong proper, could be accessed only with motorcycles, Fiel said by phone.
Elsewhere in the region, NPA rebels also burned a sprayer truck owned by Japanese firm Sumitomo Fruits (Sumifru) in neighboring Compostela Valley province, police said.
Four armed men on a motorcycle torched the equipment at Purok (Community) 3, Lower Siocon village, Compostela town, around 5:30 a.m., Senior Supt. Abraham Rojas, Compostela Valley police chief, said.
Rojas said the attackers who introduced themselves as NPA members ordered the truck driver and his companion to get off, poured gasoline on the part of the vehicle and set it on fire.
An investigation into the attack was being conducted, the police official said.
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