ZAMBOANGA CITY (Mindanao Examiner / Nov. 14, 2012) – A communist rebel and a government soldier were killed in separate clashes in the southern Philippines where security forces are battling the insurgents, officials said Wednesday.
Capt. Alberto Caber, a spokesman for the 1st Infantry Division, said New People’s Army rebels killed Corporal Anthony Bahala, a member of the 53rd Infantry Battalion, in the town of Guipos in Zamboanga del Sur province.
He said Bahala was sent to the village of Dalapan to verify the presence of rebels extorting money from civilians and heading back to base when attacked by the NPA late Tuesday afternoon.
“It was a treacherous attack and troops are tracking down the NPA rebels,” Caber told the regional newspaper Mindanao Examiner.
He said regional Army commander Lt. Gen. Ricardo Rainier Cruz III has ordered troops to stay vigilant following the attack on the soldier.
Government troops also clashed Tuesday with communist rebels, killing one gunman and wounding another near the town of Tulunan in North Cotabato province.
Col. Prudencio Asto, a spokesman for the 6th Infantry Division, said the wounded rebel was airlifted by army soldiers to a military hospital in Maguindanao province to save his life.
He said the fighting broke out following a military operation in the town where NPA rebels were harassing civilians and extorting money from villagers.
“The encounter came after the 602nd Infantry Brigade launched an operation in the area as a result of information provided by residents to the military. The civilians are fed up with the threats and intimidation, and extortion of the NPA in the town,” Asto said.
He said no soldiers were killed or wounded in the fighting. There were also no reports of civilian casualties.
The NPA has been fighting to overthrow the democratic government and install a Maoist state in the country. (Mindanao Examiner)