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Army deploys Scout Rangers to go after NPA ambushers

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Army dispatched yesterday its elite Scout Ranger force to track down New People’s Army (NPA) rebels who attacked and killed five soldiers on a peace and development mission in Tandag City, Surigao del Sur the other day.

The rebel-initiated attack in Barangay Mabuhay also left two soldiers wounded. It came a day after the government’s declaration of a unilateral 18-day suspension of military operations against rebels nationwide.

“Our elite Scout Ranger troops are now tracking down NPA rebels under the Guerilla Fronts 16 and 30 of the Northern Mindanao Regional Committee to support ongoing operations by the Philippine National Police,” said Maj. Eugenio Julio Eugene Osias IV, spokesman of the 4th Infantry Division in Cagayan de Oro City.

The operations were being undertaken despite heavy rains brought about by typhoon “Sendong” in the province.

“We consider rebel attackers as criminals, and in support to our police counterparts – rain or shine – we will pursue them,” Osias said.

The five slain soldiers, all from the Bravo Company of the 36th Infantry Battalion, were in Barangay Mabuhay when rebels aboard an Isuzu Elf truck attacked them.

Outnumbered, the soldiers fought back but were overwhelmed by the rebel force.

The rebels fled with one K3 squad automatic weapon, an M203 grenade launcher, four M16 rifles, five M14 rifles, a Harris hand-held radio and a Harris man-packed radio taken from killed and wounded soldiers.

Aside from the Scout Rangers, 4th Infantry Division commander Maj. Gen. Victor Felix also deployed troops in the area to pin down the rebels.

By Jaime Laude (The Philippine Star) Updated December 18, 2011 12:00 AM
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