5 hurt in Makilala roadside explosion

KIDAPAWAN CITY -- Five soldiers were wounded, two of them in critical condition, when a roadside bomb went off in a remote village in Makilala town in North Cotabato, at around 11:30 p.m. Friday, a military official said.

Lieutenant Nasrullah Sema, civil military operations chief of the 57th IB, identified the victims as Corporal Muhammad Nur Sali, Corporal Hassan Sarip, Private First Class Allan Urop, Private Michael Purol, and Private Vincent Sumug-oy, all members of the Charlie Company of the 57th IB.

Two of the wounded have remained at the intensive care unit in a hospital here. The victims sustained injuries on their head and other parts of their bodies, Sema said.

Lieutenant Manuel Gatus, commander of the Charlie Company, said his men, on board a military vehicle, were on their way to deliver food and other grocery items to a detachment at sitio Alang-Alang, barangay Kisante when an improvised explosive device went off.

A one-hour firefight ensued after the blast, Gatus said.

Authorities recovered from the site a detonating cord, about 200 meters long, and other bomb parts.

Sema hinted the bomb attack was a desperate move of the New Peoples’ Army (NPA) to strike back at them after the rebels suffered heavy casualties during the recent encounters in Makilala town.

On January 22, government troops clashed with the rebels in Barangay Cabilao that led to the killing of Private First Class Rodolfo Minlaud and the wounding of Corporal Batutin Ibad, and Lieutenant Dennis Manumbale, executive officer of the 57th IB’s Alpha Company.

Meantime, Sema denied reports that the Army fired mortars in areas they believed as rebels’ hideouts.

He explained there is no need to use 105mm mortars to drive the rebels from their bases.

Sema was reacting to a recent statement made by Ka Galna, spokesperson for the NPA Front 72, that the Army conducted mortar shelling in thickly populated communities in Kisante and Rodero.
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