ZAMBOANGA CITY: Government troops killed four communist rebels in a fierce clash on Wednesday in Davao Oriental, an army spokesman said.
Capt. Alberto Caber of the Eastern Mindanao Command said one soldier was also killed in the fighting that erupted in the village of Taocanga in Manay town.
Caber said troops also recovered four automatic rifles, improvised explosives, a cell phone and anti-government propaganda from the slain New People’s Army (NPA) rebels.
“Troops were sent to the village [of Taocanga]after civilians secretly informed the military about the presence of heavily armed men in the area. It turned out the gunmen were NPA fighters,” he said.
Caber, citing a report from Lt. Col. Krishnamurti Mortela, commander of the 67th Infantry Battalion, said the rebels were trying to recover a former stronghold in the village that was taken over by security forces.
According to Caber, one of the rebels died in the hospital.
“First aid care was immediately given by the soldiers of the 67th Infantry Battalion to the wounded NPA but efforts to save him were futile,” he added.
Meanwhile, Maj. Ray Tiongson, chief, Third Division Public Affairs Office, identified the captured NPA member as Biboy Espinas, alias Miro/Richard, a ranking member of the Komiteng Rehiyonal-Negros (KR-N).
According to Tiongson, the suspect was one of four persons spotted by troops from the 32nd Reconnaisance Company while conducting community security patrol.
Lt. Gen. Ricardo Rainier Cruz 3rd, chief of the Eastern Minda–nao Command, condoled with the family of the slain soldier and said he died fighting for democracy and safety of the whole village and its inhabitants, and at the same time com–mended the 67th Infantry Battalion for their bravery.