SULTAN KUDARAT — A member of the 2nd Marine Battalion Landing Team of the Philippine Marines was killed in an ambush in Kalamansig municipality Monday morning.
Private Albino Bahian III and his team were patrolling Sitio Tinagdanan, Barangay Hinala when they were attacked at about 9 a.m.
Bahian was killed in action.
Also injured were nine soldiers identified by the police as Staff Sergeant Alexander Falcasantos, Corporal Joseph Accad, Corporal Castle Camu, Corporal Robert Paul de Asis, Corporal Marlon Ampao, Private First Class Kenneth Dave Calaycay, Private First Class Glenn Genova, Private Jared Sugagil, and Private Randy Borromeo.
They were brought to a hospital in Cotabato City.
The New People's Army has claimed responsibility for the ambush.
“Nag-conduct sila ng security patrol sa area, the situation there was hindi sya accessible. Yung mga nakakapasok lang talaga yung habal-habal, on the way, on the process of conducting patrol in-ambush,” said Sultan Kudarat Police Provincial Director Police Senior Superintendent Raul Supiter.
(They were conducting a security patrol in the area that was not accessible. The only way to get there is via habal-habal. As they were conducting the patrol, they were ambushed.)
The Philippine National Police is pursuing the suspects.
"They must answer for what they did sa ating mga kasundaluhan," Supiter said.
Ka Efren, spokesperson of Far South Mindanao Regional Command of the NPA, said it was the rebel group's Mount Daguma Subregional Operational Command that carried out the attack, part of the NPA's tactical offensive against the marines who they alleged are protecting a land grabber in the province.
Meanwhile, the NPA is set to release 2 soldiers abducted in Columbio, Sultan Kudarat last month ahead of the resumption of the peace talks.