MANILA (UPDATE) - A football player and his cousin were killed, while the latter's son was wounded after an improvised explosive device allegedly planted by New People's Army rebels went off Sunday morning in Masbate City, the military said.
The blast resulted in the death of Kieth Absalon, 21, who plays for the Malaya Football Club and the Far Eastern University football team, and his cousin Nolven Absalon, according to Maj. Ma. Luisa Calubaquib, spokesperson of the Bicol Regional Police.
Nolven's 16-year-old son was injured after being hit by a shrapnel and was brought to the Masbate Provincial Hospital for treatment, the local police said.
The bomb exploded after the victims accidentally ran into it while biking in Purok 4, Barangay Anas at around 6:45 a.m., Calubaquib said.
"This might be a mere accident, they ran into the IED recklessly planted (by NPA rebels)...Their target are probably the uniformed personnel," she said.
"No other group would do this but the NPA," she added.
At around 11:30 a.m., policemen and soldiers caught up with the suspected rebels in Barangay Mapiña, said Calubaquib. The firefight resulted in the recovery of several IEDs and bomb components.
Meanwhile, on Saturday, a militiaman died and another was wounded in a firefight with alleged NPA rebels in Buenavista town, Quezon, the Armed Forces of the Philippines said.
The troops had just come from a gift-giving activity and were on their way to their bases when they were allegedly waylaid in Barangay Bagong Silang, said Maj. Kim Evangelista, spokesman of the Army's 2nd Infantry Division (2ID) based in Rizal.
The perpetrators were composed of about seven men, under one Philip Enteria alias Cyrus, according to Evangelista.
The attack led to the death of a member of the Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU) assigned with the Philippine Army's 85th Infantry Battalion, while another militiaman was wounded. He is in a stable condition at a hospital, the spokesman said.
The military is still checking if there were casualties on the side of the rebels who fled after a firefight.
Evangelista said the 2ID, under Maj. Gen. Bartolome Bacarro, strongly condemned the rebel attack.
- with reports from Jonathan Magistrado
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