KIDAPAWAN CITY: A member of the Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit (Cafgu) and up to five soldiers were wounded when at least 150 members of the New People’s Army (NPA) ambushed a convoy of the Presidential Security Group (PSG) in Arakan town, North Cotabato early morning on Wednesday, security officials said.
The lone fatality was identified as Benjamin Padia while five PSG members were wounded in the gunfight along a highway in Arakan, Sr./Insp. Argie Celeste, Arakan chief of police, said in a television interview.
In a separate report, Lt. Col. Harold Argamosa, commander of the Makilala-based Army’s 39th Infantry Battalion, identified two of the wounded as Corporal Rodel Ledesma and Staff Sergeant Gerry Torsal. The injured were brought to Davao City.
Argamosa said two PSG vehicles bound for Cagayan De Oro City from Davao City when they were flagged down at a checkpoint by men clad in Army uniform at 6:15 a.m.
Arakan, which is along the borders of Cotabato, Davao and Bukidnon, is a known lair of the NPA.
Celeste said that when Padian introduced himself as Cafgu, he was shot dead, triggering the firefight.
As of posting time, Celeste said government troops were in hot pursuit of the attackers.
Wednesday’s incident is the second time that PSG members were attacked in Mindanao.
In December, the PSG was also ambushed in Marawi City prior to the visit of President Rodrigo Duterte in Butig. Seven members were wounded in that encounter. MOH SAADUDDIN