2 soldiers hurt in NPA ambush in Davao Norte
TAGUM CITY, Davao del Norte, Philippines – Two soldiers were wounded in an ambush by suspected communist rebels in Talaingod, Davao del Norte on Tuesday, in the latest escalation of violence between the two groups in Southern Mindanao, following the death of a top rebel leader late last month, the military said.
An undetermined number of New People’s Army guerrillas fired at a group of soldiers from the Philippine Army’s 68th Infantry Battalion on a security patrol at Sitio (Sub-village) Bayabas, Palma Gil village around 7:50 a.m., said Capt. Albert Caber, spokesperson of the military’s Eastern Mindanao Command.
Rebels then set off an improvised explosive device (IED), and two soldiers were wounded by flying shrapnel.
“The soldiers suffered wounds and burns due to the explosion. They were immediately given first aid and are now in stable condition,” said Caber, adding the insurgents withdrew after a 20-minute fire fight.
Tuesday’s fighting capped a violent week in Davao del Norte and Compostela Valley provinces, where rebels launched attacks against government troops and private installations, killing a militiaman and
bombing a light plane used for pesticide application owned by a banana company in Compostela Valley two days earlier.
The attacks came just over a week after a military task force killed Leoncio Pitao alias Commander Parago, the elusive leader of an NPA outfit blamed for some of the most daring rebel attacks in Mindanao in the last 30 years.
Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte has raised the possibility of revenge attacks by the slain rebel leader’s comrades.
Lt. Colonel Zosimo Oliveros, 68th IB commander, has ordered pursuit operation against the insurgents, the military spokesperson said.
“We continuously remind NPA members to return to the fold of the law as we intensify our security operations in the region,” said Lt. General Aurelio Baladad, Eastmincom commander. “Pursuit operations against the (NPA) shall not stop.” SFM
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