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2 soldiers killed, 6 injured in 4th gun battle

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BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN

Two Army soldiers died, while six others were injured in renewed armed skirmishes between government troopers and New People’s Army rebels on October 8 in Sitio Cunalom, Brgy. Carabalan, Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental.

This was fourth encounter that ensued between 94th Infantry Battalion and NPA rebels in the hinterlands of Brgy. Carabalan, Himamaylan City, from Oct. 6 to 8, that resulted in the evacuation of 436 families, totaling 1,767 individuals.

In a statement, Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson said “The province mourns over the loss of our two soldiers who were killed during an encounter in Brgy. Carabalan, Himamaylan City.”

“What our two heroes did for the country, the province, and our people is the highest form of bravery, sacrifice, and patriotism that we must always honor and must never forget”, Lacson said.

He added “They lost their lives in action, in the pursuit of peace for the province, and for the security of the people of Himamaylan and Negros Occidental.”

Brig. Gen. Inocencio Pasaporte, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, disclosed that the armed engagement on Oct. 8 ensued after 94IB soldiers were able to track down the fleeing rebels, who managed to escape in the three previous encounters.

While the troops were maneuvering to assault the rebel position, they were hit by a volley of fire, causing injuries to eight soldiers, Pasaporte said.

Two of the eight soldiers died while being treated the Riverside Medical Center in Bacolod City, where six others who were injured are confined, he added.

On the other hand, the 94IB also reported that rebels suffered casualties, as indicated by traces of bloodstains along their withdrawal route.

Himamaylan City Mayor Raymund Tongson also condemned the ongoing atrocities in Brgy. Carabalan, citing the “untold hardships – physically, emotionally, psychologically – experienced by its people”

Tongson also joined Gov. Lacson in expressing his condolences to the families of two fallen Army soldiers, for their bravery and gallantry, and ultimate sacrifice for the safety and security of Himamaylan and Negros Island.

Pasaporte urged the people to remain in evacuation centers until their respective areas are completely cleared of the presence of the communist terrorist group.

Some of the affected families fled towards neighboring Brgy. Payao, Binalbagan town.

During the 3rd encounter in Sitio Campayas, Brgy. Carabalana, Himamaylan City, on Oct. 7, Army soldiers recovered a back pack containing documents with high intelligence value, a caliber .45 pistol with two magazines containing ammunition and a hammock.

Classes at all levels in Brgy. Carabalan and Cabadiangan in Himamaylan City, as well as Payao and Bi-ao in Binalbagan, were suspended on Oct. 7, due to the ongoing pursuit operations of the Philippine Army.

But Mayor Alejandro Mirasol disclosed during the weekend that classes will resume today in Brgys. Payao and Binalbagan.*

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