Army officer killed in NPA attack in Agusan del Sur

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ZAMBOANGA CITY: Communist rebels attacked a military truck, killing an Army officer and wounding four other soldiers in southern Philippines, officials said on Thursday.

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Without saying when the incident happened, the truck, according to the officials, was traveling in the village of Los Arcos in Prosperidad town in Agusan del Sur province when New People’s Army (NPA) insurgents pounced on the soldiers.

The attack sparked a firefight but it was not immediately known if there were casualties on the enemy side.

An Army lieutenant was killed in the incident but his identity was withheld by the military.

The attack came after rebels warned of more offensives in the country over the capture last week in Cebu province in central Philippines of communist chief Benito Tiamzon and his wife Wilma Austria, also a senior ranking rebel leader.

In Pagadian City, Zamboanga del Sur, the Philippine Army awarded medals to five soldiers wounded in a fierce battle with communist rebels in the southern province of Misamis Occidental.

Capt. Jefferson Mamauag, a spokesman for the First Infantry Division, said Col. Amadeo Azul, assistant division commander, led the pinning of the medals to Staff Sergeant Rufeus Cabrido, Private First Class Hope Paul Mendez and Privates Joerwin Cris Arriola, Ronel Tabat and Rosaldo Galisanao.

He added that the awarding of the medals was held at the Kuta Cesar Sang-an Station Hospital at the division’s headquarters in Pulacan town in Zamboanga del Sur.

The soldiers are members of the 15th Division Reconnaissance Company who clashed with the NPA in the town of Bonifacio on March 10, according to Mamauag.

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