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Military to probe Ifugao ambush as troops pursue rebels

MANILA, Philippines – The Armed Forces of the Philippines has formed a board of inquiry to look into the deaths Wednesday of 11 soldiers and a civilian in a New People’s Army ambush in Tinoc town in Ifugao province even as two Army companies were deployed to hunt down the attackers.

AFP spokesman Colonel Arnulfo Burgos said the board of inquiry will be headed by Colonel Reynaldo Labayen.

However, Burgos stressed that the focus of the AFP leadership at the moment is to get the rebels who staged the ambush on a three-vehicle convoy of the 86th Infantry Battalion that was ferrying troops back to headquarters in Kiangan town after turning over their post in Tinoc to a replacement unit.

Burgos said the battalion’s Alpha and Charlie companies were pursuing the rebels.
"The concentration right now is pursuit and making sure that the area is safe and secure," Burgos told reporters.

Earlier, battalion commander Lieutenant Colonel Eugene Batara said his operations officer, a captain, and the wife of one of his men were among those killed. Two other soldiers and a civilian were wounded.

Batara, who survived the ambush, said all the casualties were in the lead vehicle of the convoy.

"We condemn in the strongest terms the attack on our soldiers who were there to provide a safe and secure environment for our people," said Burgos.

Burgos appealed to the rebels for sincerity in talking peace and to urge their armed units to stop their attacks.

"Sincerity should be exemplified not just by the top leadership but also translated to the smallest units as well," Burgos said.

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| April 26, 2012 | Article Link

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