CAMP EVANGELISTA, Cagayan de Oro City (Ben Balce) - TEN New People’s Army rebels and two soldiers were killed and three other government troopers were wounded in a firefight in Malaybalay City in Bukidnon last Thursday, the military reported yesterday.
Maj. Samuel Sagun, spokesman of the Army’s 4th Infantry Division, said that the military preempted the communists’ plans to sabotage the ongoing festival in the city following the eight-hour firefight.
Sagun said elements of the 26th Infantry Battalion were conducting combat operations in the hinterlands of the city when they caught up with a 30-man fully-armed rebel group belonging to the Front Committee 89 at around 8 a.m.
Sagun said the military commanders sent an MG-520 attack helicopter to provide air support for the soldiers at the height of the firefight but it was not able to able to perform its assigned task.
"It was not able to provide air support because the troops were dangerously close to the rebels, the soldiers might be hit. It just went on a precision flight, it just flew above the encounter area," said Sagun.
He said the fighting lasted up to 4 p.m., resulting in the death of the 10 rebels, two of them females, and two soldiers – Cpl. Antonio Jamanda and Pfc Franklin Tan – and wounding of three other troopers, two of them militiamen.
Also recovered from the scene of the encounter were one M16 and one M14 rifles, a landmine and assorted ammunition, said Sagun, adding that government forces have launched pursuit operations against the remnants of the rebel group.