MATANAO, Davao del Sur–At least three soldiers, including a junior officer, were injured when a clash broke out between government troops and New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in Sitio Lamnibong in Barangay Colonsabak here Friday, the police said Saturday.
Senior Supt. Michael John Dubria, provincial police director, identified the wounded soldiers by their ranks and last names only as a Lt. Garcia, a Sergeant Gonzaga and a Private First Class Sotela.
He said the soldiers from the 39th Infantry Battalion were conducting foot patrol in the area following reports that armed men had been sighted there the past few days.
The clash that started 1:39 p.m. lasted for 20 minutes, according to Dubria.
Chief Insp. Elmer Cabuslay, chief of the Matanao police, said the wounded soldiers were airlifted to the military hospital in Panacan,
after they were extracted from the clash site. Davao City
Lt. Col. Apollo Lamaton, 39th IB commander, said the operation was continuing and that they suspected the rebels suffered casualties as well.
The Colonsabak clash came after suspected NPA rebels burned a backhoe owned by private contractor JHL Construction, which has been working on a P50-million irrigation project in Barangay San Jose here.
Lamaton said they had tightened monitoring of the NPA movement here, especially so that the rebel group’s founding anniversary nears.
“It is our experience that the rebels increase their activities when their anniversary nears,” Lamaton said.
On March 10, 2014, two policemen were killed while three others were wounded when NPA rebels attacked the police station here.