By PNA and U.S. News Agency / Asian
A soldier and a militiaman were injured in an attack staged by the New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in the hinterlands of Misamis Occidental, military official disclosed Thursday.
Army’s 1st Infantry Division spokesman Capt. Alberto Caber said the attack took place Tuesday night in the boundary of Barangay Liboron and Mansawan, Don Victoriano Chiongbian town, Misamis Occidental.
Caber did not release the name of the injured soldier and militiaman except that the soldier belongs to the 55th Infantry Battalion.
Caber said the soldiers were undertaking peace and development works when around 20 NPA rebels attacked them.
Although two were already injured, he said the soldiers fought back that resulted in a five-minute firefight forcing the NPA attackers to flee.
The NPA rebels were believed to have suffered casualties as bloodstains were visible in their withdrawal path, he said.
Lt. Col. Rommel Almaria, 55th Infantry Battalion commander, said the attack will not stop them from undertaking peace and development works in Misamis Occidental.
Almaria said the attack is a clear indication that the NPAs “are against the gains of the Bayanihan soldiers in the villages who are working to win the peace in that part of the region.”
“The objective of the incident seemingly appears to be the rebels’ effort to disrupt the locals’ mounting trust on the soldiers,” he said.
“We will not stop doing peace for our people,” Almaria added.
Meanwhile, 1st Infantry Division commander Maj. Gen. Ricardo Rainier Cruz III said the rebels’ harassment is nothing new as “a terror modus operandi with the sole end of intimidating the locals to extortion.”