ZAMBOANGA CITY -- Eight soldiers were wounded when New People’s Army (NPA) rebels set off an improvised bomb in the hinterlands of North Cotabato, a military official said Friday.

Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) information officer Captain Alberto Caber said the incident took place around 12:45 a.m. Friday along Purok 2, Barangay Luna Norte, Makilala, North Cotabato.

Caber said the troops were conducting patrol aboard a KM-450 truck that tripped on an improvised bomb fashioned out as a landmine while traversing Purok 2 in Barangay Luna, Makilala town.

Caber did not identify the wounded soldiers except in saying they belong to the Army’s 57th Infantry Battalion headed by Lieutenant Colonel Nilo Vinluan.

He said they were rushed to the hospital in Kidapawan City for treatment.

The troops have intensified security patrol following intelligence reports that the NPA rebels plan to resume attacks on communities, including burning of construction equipment in North Cotabato, Caber said.

“Our soldiers are deployed to safeguard our people from NPAs barbaric attack and extortion in the area,” he said, quoting Vinluan.

He said information gathered from civilians showed that the NPA rebels from Fronts 72 and 51 are the ones responsible in the landmine explosion.

It can be recalled that the NPA rebels attacked last September 1 the Standard Rubber Development Corporation and killed its manager.

Caber said the NPA rebels burned the firm’s processing plant during the September 1 attack that left some 700 rubber farm workers jobless. (Sunnex)