5 killed, 16 others wounded in Zamboanga del Norte clashes

Bong Garcia

FIVE people, including two soldiers, were killed while 16 others were wounded and one rebel was captured in two separate clashes in the province of Zamboanga del Norte, the military said Monday, July 17.

The military said in a statement that a New People’s Army (NPA) rebel was killed while six others wounded in the first clash that occurred around 4:50 a.m. Sunday at Sitio Biwa in the village of Titik, Leon Postigo, Zamboanga del Norte.

The joint troops of 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 the wounding of 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.

The second clash happened around 1:25 p.m. Sunday at Sitio Lubi, Tinaplan village, Sindangan town, Zamboanga del Norte, as the troops pursued the fleeing NPA rebels.

Two of the 40 NPA rebels, who figured in the second clash, were killed while one was captured.

Two soldiers were killed while 10 were wounded. The injured soldiers were rushed to the hospital in Dipolog City for treatment.

Troops are tracking down the NPA rebels, who fled towards the hinterland.

Colonel Jacinto Bareng, Army’s 102nd Infantry Brigade commander, condemned the acts of the NPA rebels that caused the disruption of the implementation of vital infrastructure projects in Zamboanga del Norte.

Bareng said they will continue to ensure the protection of the workers implementing the project, the completion of which will provide easy access to the residents in the hinterlands. (SunStar Philippines)