3 soldiers hurt in Cotabato encounter-A A +A
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
KIDAPAWAN CITY -- Three members of the Army’s Alpha Company of the 57th Infantry Battalion were wounded after an encounter with communist guerillas in North Cotabato, on Tuesday, a military official said.
Lieutenant Colonel Noel dela Cruz, commander of the 57th IB, said his men were patrolling in Barangay Cabilao, Makilala when they chanced upon a number of New Peoples' Army (NPA) rebels positioned in the area.
The firefight, he said, lasted for hours.
He already sent additional troops in the area to ensure safe transfer of wounded soldiers to the nearest hospital.
Names of the casualties on the government side are not available as of 5 p.m. Tuesday.
The military hinted the encounter at Barangay Cabilao could be an offshoot of the killing on Monday of a tribal chieftain in Magpet town, also in North Cotabato.
On Monday, unidentified gunmen, believed to be NPA rebels, shot dead Datu Samante Ansabu Pasayao in Barangay Mahongkog, Magpet.
Pasayao, reports said, is known in the community as a staunch Army supporter. He is also believed as one of the leaders of the Bagani, a group of armed natives whose task is to run after the NPAs in the area.
Meanwhile, a number of families residing near the encounter site at Barangay Cabilao fled to safer areas to prevent from being hit by cross fires.
Village officials also heard mortar shelling nearby.
They said at least two 105mm mortars landed at Sitio Alang-Alang in Barangays Kisante and Rodero, both in Makilala town.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on January 23, 2013.