DAVAO CITY, Philippines- – Four soldiers and a suspected New People’s Army (NPA) guerrilla were killed when a group of rebels tried to overrun a police station in Mati, Davao Oriental Sunday night.
Reports said at least a hundred gunmen in three utility vans and a truck arrived at the Mati police station at around 7:30 p.m.
Southern Mindanao police director Chief Superintendent Wendy Rosario said police officers and soldiers from the Army’s 701st Infantry Brigade exchanged fire with the guerrillas, who fled in the vans, leaving behind the truck.
An alleged rebel, who has yet to be identified, was killed in the firefight that lasted about 12 minutes.
The four soldiers died after their vehicle hit an improvised explosive device (IED) as they were pursuing the rebels.
Two were killed at the scene while another died yesterday morning. Five others were brought to a hospital for treatment.
Another soldier, who was in civilian clothes and on a motorcycle, was shot dead by the rebels at a checkpoint they put up as part of the blocking force of those who raided the police station.
1/Lt. Vergel Lacambra, spokesman for the Army’s 10th Infantry Division, identified the slain soldiers as Pfcs. Daniel Damansila, Wil Christian Resuello, Pvt. Ryan Amigo and Sgt. Adel Licunan.
The wounded were Pfcs. Zaldy Canonero, Ian Mark Babiera, Emerito Castillo and Vergil Logronio.
Rosario said the Mati City police station is considered a high-risk area for NPA attacks. It was also raided by a band of rebels in 2011.
The attack came after the Philippine Army last week declared Davao Oriental as insurgency-free.
Meanwhile, in Camarines Norte, two suspected NPA rebels were also killed in an alleged firefight with police officers in Milagros town in Masbate Sunday afternoon.
The rebels were trying to extort money and goods from Barangay Bangad chairman Freddie Bolivar when the lawmen arrived.
Instead of giving in, the suspects reportedly opted to shoot it out with the officers. One of the fatalities was identified as Ronilo Culibar.