By Philippine News Agency
Two soldiers were killed while 11 others were wounded in a landmine explosion during pursuit and clearing operations against the New People’s Army (NPA) which also suffered three casualties.
Eastern Mindanao Command spokesperson Maj. Ezra Balagtey confirmed that 11 soldiers were hit by a landmine.
While Balagtey has yet to receive a list of names of the soldiers, it was learned the casualties from the 3rd Infantry Battalion were identified as Cpl. Michael Yadao and Pvt. Virnel Damondon.
Initial reports obtained by the media show the soldiers were part of the security forces under the Charlie Company and Alpha Company led by 2Lt. Escora, 2Lt. Andig and 2Lt. Diaz in three sections of the operation in Barangay Lamanan, Calinan District, Davao City on Thursday.
The eight soldiers sustained wounds in the head from shrapnel and gun shot. They were identified as 2Lt. Harvey Kyl Escora; Cpl. Arnel Cuaresma; Cpl. Rey Danaytan; Cpl. Dominic Alegado; Pfc. Celso Neri; Pvt. Mike Barnuevo; Cpl. Jose Bautista Jr; and Pfc. Marion Rex Retutar.
The encounter between the army troops and the NPA occurred when rebels launched series of attacks in three areas in Davao City’s second and third districts.
Joint Task Force Haribon chief Brig. Gen Gilbert Gapay confirmed in interview Thursday night said rebels under the Pulang Bagani Command 1 under alias Jinggoy and Pulang Bagani Command 2 under alias Lando harassed and clashed with government troops.
Around 5:30 a.m. Thursday, Gapay said rebels attacked the military detachment in Malabog, Paquibato District but the army troops were able to fight back. The encounter left one NPA rebel dead but his body was brought by the fleeing rebels.
At lunchtime, rebels attacked the civilian community in Davco pineapple plantation in Baguio District and burned the harvester owned by Del Monte Philippines.
Gapay said the attack in Davco could be a retaliation for the death of an NPA in the earlier encounter.
Another encounter ensued late afternoon in Lamanan, Calinan between the blocking force and the fleeing rebels.
According to Gapay, nearby residents also heard explosions and sporadic gunfire.