Saturday, July 12, 2008

Agusan clash kills 4, displaces villagers

07/12/2008 | 06:06 PM

BUTUAN, Philippines - At least 30 families abandoned their homes in the southern province of Agusan del Sur on Friday as government forces and communist rebels clashed, the provincial government and the military said on Saturday.

Maj. Armand Rico, spokesman of the military’s Eastern Mindanao Command, said soldiers from the Philippine Army’s 42nd Division Reconnaissance Company were on combat operation on Friday when they caught up with at least 10 New People’s Army (NPA) rebels at Sitio Lamasaya in Barangay La Fortuna in Veruela town at around 1:30 p.m.

Rico said fighting ensued for at least 25 minutes, resulting in the death of four rebels and wounding of two others. He said only one soldier, Pfc. Reynante Sacote, suffered a slight injury in the face.

Rico said the information about the rebel deaths were provided by fleeing villagers. He said troops involved in the encounter also reported seeing two rebels being carried by their fleeing comrades.

A news dispatch by the Agusan del Sur Provincial Information Office told a different story.

Provincial information officer Ferdinand Perez said fighting erupted when some 60 rebels attacked a military outpost in Katipunan, an adjacent barangay, late afternoon on Friday.

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