NPA ambush kills army officer in Agusan province

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ZAMBOANGA CITY: Communist rebels ambushed a military truck and killing an army officer and wounded four others in the southern Philippines, officials said.

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Officials said the truck was traveling in the village of Los Arcos in Prosperidad town in Agusan del Sur province when New People’s Army rebels attacked the soldiers. The ambush sparked a firefight, but it was not immediately known if there were casualties on the enemy side.

An army lieutenant was killed in the attack, but his identity was withheld by the military. The attack came after rebels warned of more offensives in the country following the capture in Cebu province in central Philippines of communist chieftain Benito Tiamzon and his wife Wilma Austria, who is also a senior ranking rebel leader.

In Pagadian City, the Philippine Army awarded medals to 5 soldiers wounded in fierce battle with communist rebels in the southern province of Misamis Occidental.

Captain Jefferson Mamauag, a spokesman for the 1st Infantry Division, said Colonel Amadeo Azul, assistant division commander, led the pinning of the medals to Staff Sergeant Rufeus Cabrido, Private First Class Hope Paul Mendez, Privates Joerwin Cris Arriola, Ronel Tabat and Rosaldo Galisanao.

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

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

Maj. Gen. Felicito Virgilio Trinidad, the division commander, also praised the soldiers for their bravery. “The brave Tabak troopers’ action demonstrated their tenacity and perseverance and even dedicated their lives in accomplishing their mission to bring peace and development for the community,” he said.

The rebels have been fighting for decades in an effort to overthrow the democratic government and replace it with the communist rebels.

PNA

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