Soldier dies, 2 hurt in landmine blast-A A +A
Thursday, May 5, 2011
ZAMBOANGA CITY – A soldier was killed while two others were wounded in a landmine explosion followed by an hour-long firefight against New People's Army (NPA) in Compostela Valley province, a military official said Thursday.
Lieutenant Colonel Lyndon Paniza, spokesman of the Army's 10th Infantry Divison, said the NPAs set off a bomb fashioned out as a landmine around 11:50 a.m. when the troops were checking the reported presence of heavily armed men in Tibagon village, Pantukan town.
Paniza said a soldier, whose identity was not released, died while two others were wounded during the explosion.
Paniza said reinforcement was immediately sent to Barangay Tibagon as the NPAs unleashed heavy volume of gunfire after setting off the bomb that resulted in an hour-long firefight.
The troops who figured in the firefight belongs to the Army's 71st Infantry Battalion that were undertaking retrieval works at a mine site in Sitio Panganason, Kingking village, Pantukan, where a landslide occurred last April 22.
The villages of Tibagon and Kingking are adjacent to each other.
The landslide left 14 people dead while nine others are still missing the reason why retrieval works by the Army and victims's relatives continue in the area.
Paniza did not mention whether or not the NPAs, who fled upon the arrival of more reinforcement of troops, have suffered casualties during the firefight.
One of the wounded soldiers, Private First Class (PFC) Junriel Estopil, said they were warned by civilians who they met while on the way to Tibagon village to take care as there are heavily armed men in the area, Paniza said.
“It is very unfortunate that another soldier have offered his ultimate sacrifice in defending the community,” Paniza said as he branded the NPAs as criminals who took the advantage of sowing terror to the innocent civilians “while our troops are busy responding to the disaster in Pantukan.”
The two wounded soldiers were immediately airlifted to the Panacan Stations Hospital at the headquarters of the Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) while the slain soldier was brought to Villa Funeral Homes in Panabo City, Paniza said. (Bong Garcia)