GOVERNMENT troops figured in a series of firefight with alleged members of the New People’s Army (NPA) in the vicinity of Mahaba, Marihatag in Surigao del Sur on Saturday afternoon.

The encounters resulted in the death of one soldier and wounded three others while an undetermined casualty on the terrorists’ side was observed.

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The first firefight occurred at about 1:00 p.m. in the vicinity of Sitio Palonpon, Mahaba, Marihatag as the troops encountered more or less 10 terrorists believed to belong to Guerilla Front 19B.

The firefight lasted for about 30 minutes that resulted to the wounding of Cpl Rodel C. Umopang.

At about 1:35 p.m., another section of 36 Infantry Battalion (IB) encountered more or less 10 terrorists in the same barangay, which is believed to be the same group they encountered previously.

The firefight lasted for about 10 minutes that resulted to the death of Cpl. Frethel V. Escabal from Bayugan City and the wounding of a certain Cpl. Binag and Pfc. Reyes while undetermined casualties were observed on the enemy side.

At about 1:40 p.m. and 2:00 p.m., two separate and short encounters occurred in the same barangay between different sections from 36IB and separate groups of terrorists believed to be remnants of the same group. There was no casualty on the side of the government.

At about 2:20 p.m., another section belonging to the 14th Scout Ranger Company spotted two armed terrorists probably trying to run away from the previous encounters.

“Our troops ambushed the terrorists resulting to the death of one of them, a female, and the recovery of one M16 rifle while the other one escaped. We are pretty sure that the remaining terrorists are confused, shocked and exhausted and they will try to mingle with the civilians so that their lives can be spared,” said Lt. Col. Rene Cañete, Commanding Officer of 36th IB.

Cañete said the incident is a result of the cooperation provided by the residents of Barangay Mahaba who have been suffering from the terroristic activities of the NPA rebels.

“These terrorists will have nowhere to hide because our troops will continue to scour the area to pursue and finish the remaining terrorists,” added Col. Augusto Tolentino, Commanding Officer of 401st Infantry Brigade based in Lianga, Surigao del Sur.

Meanwhile, the wounded soldiers are already evacuated and treated at the Camp Evangelista Station Hospital in Cagayan de Oro City. (PR)