A SOLDIER was killed while another was wounded in separate clashes between government troops and New People's Army (NPA) rebels in Misamis Oriental and Surigao del Norte Monday morning, February 27.

The 10-minute firefight between the military and the rebel group in Barangay Kaulayanan, Sugbongcogon, Misamis Oriental, left one soldier dead.

The military is withholding the name of the slain private first class soldier pending notification of the soldier’s kin.

Captain Joe Patrick Martinez, spokesperson of the 4th Infantry Division, said soldiers under the 58th Infantry Battalion (IB) encountered some 30 NPA rebels believed to be members of the Guerilla Front 4B.

Martinez said the troops were deployed after receiving reports that the Maoist guerrillas were allegedly conducting extortion activities in the area.

"The 58IB troops were sent to address the situation in the area," Martinez said.

He said the troops successfully pushed the rebels away from the community but incurred one casualty.

The rebels withdrew towards northwest following the clash.

Martinez said the military has launched pursuit operations against the retreating rebels.

"We may have lost one of our brave soldier but it will not stop us in securing our people in these communities that are being terrorized by these NPA bandits. His death will always be remembered by the people whom he dedicated his life and service," Martinez said.

Meanwhile, another soldier was wounded and civilian properties damaged after NPA rebels allegedly blasted one improvised explosive device (IED) in Tinago, Malimono, Surigao del Norte, 9:30 a.m. Monday.

The soldiers under the 30th Infantry Battalion encountered the rebels after they responded to complaints by civilians over the alleged harassment and extortion activities of the NPA in the community.

30IB commander Lieutenant Colonel Rico Amaro accused the NPA of violating the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect to Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (Carhrill).

"This was the only document duly signed by the government and the National Democratic Front at the Hague, the Netherlands, which prohibits the stockpiling of explosives inside or near the vicinity of community as it will endanger the lives of the civilians," Amaro said.

"We will continuously intensify our anti-extortion drive against these communist terrorists. As what I had promised to the residents of Malimono, we will not allow anymore the NPA to conduct extortion activity, harassment and other forms of atrocities not only in Malimono but in whole Surigao del Norte province," Amaro added.