CABADBARAN CITY, Philippines – Two died while seven were injured in a firefight between government forces and communist New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in Agusan del Norte province on Friday.
Two rebels were killed while four others were wounded on the side of the NPA while three Philippine Army soldiers were wounded in the encounter, according to the military.
Government forces engaged around 60 heavily armed NPA guerillas in a gunbattle in Sitio Lusong, Brgy. Puting Bato in Cabadbaran City, at around 11:45 a.m., the military said.
The clash occurred after the military received intelligence reports that an undetermined number of NPA rebels were undergoing training in the area.
Lt. Col. Erwin Lamzon, commanding officer of the 30th Infantry Batallion, said one of his men, Pfc. Ronilo Solana, remains in critical condition at the Butuan Doctors Hospital.
Two other injured Army soldiers, Cpl. Reynante Salvan and Pfc. Emmanuel de Leon, were brought to the Camp Evangelista Hospital in Cagayan de Oro City.
“When the engagement happened, (the) initial report we got was two killed and four wounded from the other side (NPA). We didn't have the chance to get their wounded na sana ay mabigyan namin ng medical attention,” Lamzon said.
The military has launched pursuit operations against the fleeing rebels. -- with a report from Charmaine Awitan, ABS-CBN News Caraga