ZAMBOANGA CITY — Five were killed, including two soldiers, while 16 were wounded and one rebel was captured in two separate clashes in a remote area of Zamboanga del Norte, the military said Monday, July 17.
The Army’s 102nd Infantry Brigade said in a statement that a New People’s Army (NPA) rebel was killed and six others were wounded in the first encounter that took place at around 4:50 a.m. Sunday in Biwa, Barangay Titik, Leon Postigo, Zamboanga del Norte.
Soldiers from the Army’s 44th Infantry Battalion and 20th Special Forces Company were conducting security patrol when they clashed with a group of NPA rebels belonging to the Section Committee FLX “Bravo.”
The troops were detailed to secure a government road construction project linking the town of Leon Postigao, Zamboanga del Norte to the municipality of Bayog, Zamboanga del Sur.
The firefight lasted about 20 minutes that resulted to the death of an NPA rebel and injured six others. No troops were either killed or wounded.
The troops recovered 15 improvised bombs, three rounds of caliber .40 millimeter ammunition, medical supplies and other personal belongings that NPA rebels abandoned as they fled to different directions.
Another clash happened at around 1:25 p.m. Sunday as the troops pursued the fleeing NPA rebels to disrupt their plans in burning heavy equipment of the construction firm undertaking the road construction project.
The encounter happened when the troops sighted around 40 NPA rebels in Sitio Lubi, Barangay Tinaplan, in the adjacent town of Sindangan, Zamboanga del Norte.
Two NPA rebels were killed while one was captured in the second clash.
On the government side, two soldiers were killed while 10 were wounded. The injured soldiers were rushed to the hospital in Dipolog City.
Troops continue to pursue the NPAs who fled towards the hinterland.
Col. Jacinto Bareng, Army’s 102nd Infantry Brigade commander, condemned the acts of the NPAs that caused disruption in the implementation of vital infrastructure projects in Zamboanga del Norte.
Bareng assured the protection of the workers implementing the project.
He said the completion of the road construction project will provide easy access for the residents in the hinterlands in bringing their farm products to the towns centers of Leon Postigo and Sindangan, Zamboanga del Norte and Bayog, Zamboanga del Sur. (Teofilo P. Garcia Jr/PNA)