TWO soldiers and a civilian were wounded when suspected communists attacked Army soldiers holding temporary patrol base in the village of Cambagang in Maragusan town in Compostela Valley province Wednesday.

In a press statement, Army's 10th Infantry Division public affairs officer Emmanuel R. Garcia said around 50 armed New People's Army (NPA) rebels onboard two carnapped Sadam trucks attacked the detachment of the Army's 66th Infantry Battalion at around 9:15 p.m. and fled after a 30-minute firefight.

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The rebels belonged to Local Terrorist Front-27 in Southern Mindanao.

The wounded were identified as Sgt. Reglyn Locario and Pfc. Jimmy Galiza.

A civilian passer-by identified as Nanetes Niengo, 23, was wounded in the crossfire. He was rushed to the regional hospital in Tagum City by soldiers and village officials.

One of the trucks was recovered by the troops together with spent shells of ammunitions used by the terrorists several kilometers away.

"The terrorists surely suffered many casualties as they were forced to retreat despite their big number as compared to the squad in the temporary patrol base. One of their leaders might be one of the casualties as one Icom radio was left behind by them. Radios are normally used by their leaders," 66th IB Chief Roberto Ancan said.

Army's 10th Infantry Division Chief Carlos Holganza deplored the repeated use of "treachery by the NPA in carrying out their terroristic acts against the people by car-napping vehicles and coercing civilians to drive them during their attacks like the previous cases in this region which are violations of laws and put the lives of non-combatants in danger."

Holganza said: "NPA's disregarded the safety of civilians as they conducted the attack even if civilians were clearly present during that time."

Last month, NPA members belonging to Local Terrorist Front-20 attacked a police detachment in Cateel town in nearby Davao Oriental province but instead suffered five dead.

Local Terrorist Front-18 also attacked a road project in Banay-banay town still in Davao Oriental. In both instances, the terrorists used two carnapped trucks and forced civilians to drive the vehicles during the attack.

Last February, 13-year-old Memilyn Moreno was killed by the NPA in their attack against a road project in Boston, Davao Oriental while in December last year, 55-year-old Rosalinda Clata was killed by rebels in an attack against the same road project in Boston.

The attacks were carried out after Sebastian Construction Company reportedly refused to give extortion money to the NPA. (PR/10ID)