COLONEL Eliezer Losañes, commander of 303rd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army, said yesterday they are still verifying the reported four casualties in the encounter between a private armed group and the Revolutionary Proletarian Army-Alex Boncayao Brigade (RPA-ABB) on October 1 in Salvador Benedicto, Negros Occidental.
Based on military reports, members of RPA-ABB led by a certain Alejandro Traya conducted patrol at the vicinity of Barangay Pinowayan when they encountered about 20 armed men with high-powered firearms led by Glen Saldoa and Julito Tanoco along the Tangkongan river between the boundary of Barangays Pinowayan and Bagong Silang around 6:40 p.m.
A firefight ensued for about 15 minutes and a certain Godofredo Bayog- ang, along with 13 members of RPA-ABB reinforced Traya's group.
Reports said there were four fatalities and one wounded on the part of the private armed group. However, no bodies were retrieved.
On the part of the police, Senior Inspector Jovito Bose, town police chief, said they retrieved a body from the encounter site near a river but they have yet to determine if the victim was a member of either group.
The fatality was identified as Robert Selendrun, 21, who went fishing in the river with his brother and cousin.
They ran away, but Selendrun was hit and he died on the spot while his two companions were unharmed.