COTABATO CITY – Nine soldiers were injured when suspected militants set off an improvised explosive device (IED) in Rajah Buayan, Maguindanao on Friday evening, police said.
Senior Supt. Agustin Tello, the Maguindanao police provincial director, said soldiers from the 40th Infantry Battalion were on a KM-450 Army vehicle and were passing by a dirt road in Barangay Pidsandawan when the blast occurred at 7:50 p.m.
Injured were Privates First Class Kevenino Abines, Jayson Abat, Crisanto Lemente, Jennil Distura and Jemuel Enocito, and Corporals Kevin John Burlatos, Marlon Abrenilla, Raymund Rosare and Rommel Besus.
They sustained shrapnel injuries in various parts of the body and were now undergoing medication at the Maguindanao provincial hospital in Shariff Aguak town, also in Maguindanao, he said.
Tello said the infantry men were on their way to the battalion command post in Barangay Zapakan, also in Rajah Buayan, when the explosion took place.
After the blast, armed men positioned nearby opened fire on the government forces.
Outnumbered and injured, the soldiers returned fire as they sped off.
Abu Misri Mama, speaking for the BIFF, later claimed that his group, which pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, was behind the ambush.
He said none of their men was harmed in the brief exchange of fire with the fleeing soldiers.
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