Army, reds encounter in Misamis Occidental

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ZAMBOANGA CITY—  A soldier was wounded during the  two separate encounters  with the New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in the province of Misamis Occidental.

Col. Bagnus Gaerlan, the Army’s 102nd Infantry Brigade commander, on Tuesday said the first clash happened around 4 p.m. Monday in Panaon, Misamis Occidental.

Gaerlan said the troops from the 10th Infantry Battalion were on security operations when they chanced upon 15 NPA rebels, triggering a  firefight.

NPA rebels were believed to have suffered injuries or casualties as bloodstains were visible in their withdrawal path, the military official said, adding no soldier was either killed or wounded.

A separate clash around 7:50 a.m. on Tuesday in Jimenez town, however, wounded a soldier, Gaerlan said.

Gaerlan said the firefight ensued after troops belonging to the 14th Division Reconnaissance Company chanced upon a group of NPA rebels.

He said government forces recovered two AK-47 rifles, one M-16 Armalite rifle with attached M-203 grenade launcher, one rifle grenade, blasting caps, improvised bombs, medical supplies, NPA flag, ammunition, and personal belongings.

“The combat operation was conducted in response to the report of a concerned civilian regarding NPAs presence in their communities,” he said.

Maj. Gen. Roseller Murillo, Joint Task Force Zampelan commander, commended the troops and assured medical aid for the wounded soldier.

“The armed encounters could have been prevented if the NPAs surrendered and took advantage of the Enhance Comprehensive Local Integration Program of the government for them to go back to the mainstream society,” Murillo said. –PNA

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