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5 die in clash near mining site

KORONADAL CITY -- A soldier and four communist rebels were killed in a firefight in a remote village near the mining development site of foreign-backed Sagittarius Mines Inc. in this city, an official said. 

Lieutenant Colonel Alexis Noel C. Bravo, commander of the 27th Infantry Battalion, said the attack happened last Wednesday, when an estimated 40 members of the New People’s Army (NPA) stormed a military detachment in Barangay Bacungan, Columbio, resulting in the firefight that lasted for about 45 minutes.

Bravo did not identify the dead soldier who is from this city and holds a rank of private first class.

He said pursuit operations continue Friday against the NPA rebels at the boundary of Columbio, Sultan Kudarat and Magsaysay, Davao del Sur.

The rebels, posing as mining workers, attacked the detachment on board a hijacked forward truck, the military official said.

A militiaman, identified as Dionato Obias, was lightly wounded in the firefight.
The NPA rebels left the bodies of their two dead comrades, Bravo said, adding that residents reported to the military that the communist rebels brought along two more bodies.

The withdrawing rebels allegedly abducted five residents in nearby Barangay San Miguel in Magsaysay town to serve as human shields, Bravo said, adding they also took away a horse to carry a wounded member.

He identified the alleged abducted residents as Vicente Bunal, Jolly Paimalan, Elmer Entes, Rhyan Banua and Pablo Butaya.

Bravo said the troops recovered from the encounter site an M-14 rifle, a USAS 12-gauge shotgun, a fragmentation grenade, assorted ammunitions and 20 backpacks.

Colonel Glorioso Miranda, 1002nd Brigade commander, said the attack Wednesday "was aimed at intimidating the civilians who are supportive of the presence of 27th IB peace and development teams in their barangay." 

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Bong S. Sarmiento | SunStar.Com.Ph | April 27, 2012 | Article Link

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