TWELVE people were killed—seven soldiers, three policemen and two communist rebels—and nine others were wounded following a series of encounters between government security forces and members of the New People’s Army (NPA) in Davao del Sur province.
Capt. William Afred Rodriguez, 1002nd Infantry Brigade civil-military operations officers, said the slain soldiers were killed from a landmine explosion set up by the NPAs as their convoy was traversing Barangay Asbang to reinforce the military’s Dongapekong Detachment in Matanao town which was then under attack.
Seven other soldiers were also wounded.
Earlier, some 50 rebels attacked the Matanao Municipal Police Station, killing three policemen and wounded three others.
But Capt. Alberto Caber, Eastern Mindanao Command spokesman, said two rebels were also killed in a subsequent encounter by pursuing elements of the 39th Infantry Battalion in Sitio Tagaytay, Barangay Savoy of said town.
Caber added that the soldiers also recovered two of the three vehicles, two Isuzu Elf trucks and a multicab pick-up, that the NPAs used during their escape.
Killed in a 30-gunfight were Sr. Police Officers 3 Danny Mahalong and Manolo Booc and another unidentified policeman.
Critically wounded were Insp. Renato Uy, PO1 Sherwin Cadungog and PO1 Gilbert Legaspi and six others.
Reports reaching Camp Crame said the rebels outnumbered the policemen manning the two-story building of the Matanao Police Station.
The rebels also carted away four M-16 rifles, two nine-millimeter pistols, a .45-caliber pistol and two handheld radios.
The attack occurred even as police and military earlier warned all its commanders to stay on high alert because of an intelligence report of an impending raid by NPA rebels.
Officials tagged the leader of the raiders as Felix Armodia alias Ka Jing, who heads the NPA forces in Davao and Cotabato provinces.
There was no immediate statement from the rebel group about the latest attack, but it had previously warned of fresh offensives against police and military targets.