LA TRINIDAD, Benguet (July 23) — Four government troopers were wounded and a militiaman killed in two offensives launched by New People’s Army (NPA) guerrillas in Kalinga.
In a statement the Lejo Cawilan Command of the NPA disclosed that government troopers of the 21st IB chanced upon an NPA team cooking breakfast at Sitio Uyokan, Barangay Mallango, Tinglayan town on July 20. The NPA claimed they were outnumbered by the soldiers but were able to maneuver to safety.
The same statement said at around 9:30 AM on the same day, they launched an offensive against the said soldiers wounding three of them. The NPA added they suffered no casualties.
The statement added the NPA launched another offensive the following day, July 21 at around 1:20 PM against an army-CAFGU detatchment in Wagod, Pinukpuk. The report said Jimmy Banato, a militiamanwas killed and an army trooper wounded in the said gun battle and no casualties for the NPA.
Police reports confirmed that there were only three soldiers wounded. The same report said Private First Class Michael Ammadang and Erwin Toribio and Private Jimmy Aquino, all members of the Kalinga-based 21st Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army were rushed to the Kalinga Provincial Hospital in Tabuk.
Cordillera Police Spokesman Supt. Arni Dean Emock, however, claimed the firefight occurred at around 1:30 PM on Saturday, July 21 when the three with other government forces met by chance an undetermined number of rebels in Sitio Uyokan.
A military helicopter, said Emock, came to the government forces rescue but was not able to pick up the three wounded soldiers because of strong winds in the area. He said soldiers evacuated the three by land to the hospital.
Government troopers, Emock said, are still in the area pursuing the rebels. # Ace Alegre for NORDIS