EIGHT communist rebels and one soldier were killed in a firefight between members of the New People's Army (NPA) and troops, while conducting hot pursuit operation on Wednesday morning, July 12, in Compostela Valley.
Captain Rhyan Batchar, spokesperson of the 10th Infantry Division (ID), said the firefight occurred around 8:45 a.m. and lasted for an hour with an estimated 40 insurgents belonging to Section Committee 3 and Pulang Bagani Company 4 at Barangay L.S. Sarmiento, Laak, Compostela Valley Province on July 12.
Batchar refused to release the name of the soldier who was killed as the family has yet to be notified.
The soldier was still alive when retrieved from the scene but failed to reach the hospital alive with a gunshot wound on the chest, Batchar said.
While conducting clearing operations, the soldiers were able to recover eight dead bodies of the NPA and six high-powered firearms including five M16 armalite rifles and an M60 machine gun left by the fleeing rebels.
At 4 p.m. Wednesday, the soldier’s body was still in Camp Panacan but Batchar said that it will be transferred to St. Peter.
The latest operation is the result of the earlier skirmishes last Monday, July 10, where the troops of 25th Infantry Battalion (IB) engaged in firefight with the same rebel group in Barangay Casoon, Monkayo, Compostela Valley Province where they overran a training camp of the NPA.
The encounter claimed the life of one soldier and 13 others sustained injury after an improvised explosive device exploded.
Lieutenant Colonel Ismael Mandanas, commander of 25th IB said they have been receiving reports that the same NPA rebel groups were gathering at Barangay Casoon “to conduct tactical offensives prior to President Duterte's State of the Nation Address in compliance to their communist leaders’ instructions.”
Meanwhile, 10th ID commander Noel Clement expressed his condolence to the families left by their fellow and lauded the bravery of the troops in the performance of their duty.
He added that they will continue to strengthen security measures and their mandate to protect the safety and security of the civilians against lawless elements.
“We will not lower our guards against any armed threat that can harm the peaceful living of our people,” Clement said.
The troops are still in pursuit against the fleeing NPA rebels who scampered to unknown directions while army-police checkpoints were immediately established in the different areas of 10th ID to intercept the fleeing rebels.