2 gov’t troops killed, 8 others wounded in clash with NPA in Negros Occidental
BACOLOD CITY — Two days before Monday’s elections, two Army soldiers were killed while eight others were wounded in an encounter with communist rebels early Saturday morning in a hinterland village of Kabankalan City, at least 100 km south of this city.
The encounter at Sitio Atubon in Barangay Tan-awan happened almost a week after communist rebels burned a heavy equipment used in the construction of a water dam in the same village.
About 30 soldiers belonging to the 62nd Infantry Battalion were conducting clearing and combat operations in Atubon past 5 a.m. on Saturday as part of preparations for the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections on Monday.
But the soldiers chanced upon at least 60 armed men believed be members of the New People’s Army, said Capt. Ruel Llanes, 303rd Infantry Brigade Civil Military Operations officer.
A two-hour gun battle ensued, killing two soldiers and wounding eight others, said Llanes.
The identities of slain and injured soldiers had been withheld, pending notification of their respective families. It was not also determined if their firearms were retrieved by the NPA.
Eighty barangays in Negros Occidental have been classified as poll hotspots by the Commission on Elections.
Early this week, the NPA owned up the torching of a backhoe and construction materials worth P6.8 million in Sitio Badian, in the same barangay of Tan-awan.
Estimated damage has been placed by arson investigators of the Bureau of Fire and Protection at P6.8 million.
Brig. Gen. Eliezer Losanes, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, said the communist rebels encountered by the 62IB soldiers, might be the same rebels who had burned the heavy equipment rented by a construction firm contracted by the National Irrigation Administration to build a dam in Tan-awan.
Three days ago, suspected NPA rebels killed a civilian and wounded his companion in Toboso town, also in Negros Occidental.
Another group of rebels burned down a cargo truck loaded with fertilizers in Moises Padilla town.
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