Suspected NPA rebs torch 2 trucks in Kitaotao, ambush soldiers in Quezon

MALAYBALAY CITY (Bukidnon News/ 18 January) – Four soldiers of the 8th
Infantry Battalion were confirmed injured when an unidentified number
of suspected communist rebels ambushed them in Quezon, Bukidnon
Wednesday morning.

According to Lt. Col. Jose Maria Cuerpo, the soldiers were sent to
respond to a report that rebels, who were believed to be of the New
People’s Army’s Guerilla Front 53, torched two prime mover trucks for
lease in Sitio Maloos, Sinuda, Kitaotao town. Cuerpo
said they have confirmed that one of the trucks was leased by Sumifru
banana firm.

Lt. Jorge Jallorina, spokesperson of the 8th IB, said that the
reinforcement sent was ambushed at Overview, Palacapao, Quezon and
were hit by landmines which wounded four soldiers.

The torching incident, reported to be around 1:50 am Wednesday,
occurred in the same area where four officers of the Bureau of Jail
Management and Penology were abducted last year.

The suspected NPA rebels were reported to have conducted a checkpoint in the
area disguised as government troops, according to an SMS reports
from Capt. Eduardo Meclat, spokesperson of the 403rd Brigade.
Col. Canilo Fuentes, deputy director of the Bukidnon Provincial Police
Office, said in a separate SMS report that “more or less” 60 rebels
posed as government troops and burned the trucks. Meclat, however, reported only
30 perpetrators.

The first truck, owned by JY Company of Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur,
which was loaded with bananas, was totally damaged, Fuentes added. He
said the head and the trailer were burned. The second truck, owned by
Romeo Sajulga of Bantuanon Truckers, was only partially damaged.

Witnesses in the highway said they saw one soldier believed to be
killed and another one wounded as of this morning. “We thought he
could be dead already,” Jocelyn, 38, one of the 20 passengers of a van
bound for Quezon town, who was traveling opposite the ambushed vehicle
carrying military reinforcement.

Police report cited that the 8IB’s scout platoon was traveling on an
armored Simba and another vehicle when the ambush occurred.

Cuerpo said there was no casualty from the army’s side in the ambush.
He clarified that the soldiers only obtained minor injuries from the
improvised landmine. He also refused to reveal the names of the
wounded before their families are informed.

As of 1:30 pm, pursuit operations are still ongoing, he said. Cuerpo
also added the area has no signal for mobile phones and is a strategic
position for the rebels’ mobility.

Kitaotao mayor Rudito Rafisura told Bukidnon News via telephone the
operations have
not affected residents in the town as of Wednesday noon. But he
admitted that the area has become a favorite clash point in pursuit of
the rebels. (Walter I. Balane and Sean Sulugan)

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