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Negrense soldiers killed, injured in Iloilo gunbattle

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• GILBERT P. BAYORAN

Firearms and other war materials were recovered in Iloilo encounter that also claimed the life of a Negrense soldier.*

An Army soldier from Negros Occidental died, while another Negrense trooper was injured, in a recent encounter with suspected New People’s Army rebels in Lambunao town of Iloilo.

A press statement issued by the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division identified the soldier fatality as PFC Mars Echevarria of Ilog, while injured was PFC Jomarie Llesis, of Cauayan, both in Negros Occidental.

Maj. Gen. Marion Sison, 3rd Infantry Division commander, assured the families of the slain and injured soldiers from Negros Occidental of his commitment to support their needs and secure the welfare of their families.

Appropriate medical treatment and other personal necessities will be accorded to PFC Llesis, for him to immediately recuperate and recover. Likewise, we will ensure that PFC Echevarria be given a decent burial and that his family gets the full benefits and assistance due to them, Sison said.

Echevarria and Llesis were among members of the 82nd Infantry Battalion, who encountered about 10 New People’s Army rebels on September 19 in Sitio Agdalusan, Brgy. Jayubo, Lambunao, Iloilo.

The soldiers were on their way to their targeted area, based on information of the local populace, when they were fired upon by rebels, which triggered an approximately 20-minute gunbattle, according to 3ID reports.

The gunbattle claimed the life of Echevarria and injured Llesis, while two rebels were reported to have been injured, but were able to be carried away by their fleeing comrades, the report added.

Two M16 assault rifles with two magazines containing 10 ammunition, two caliber .45 pistols with seven ammunition, and an empty magazine of AK47 assault rifle were recovered at the encounter site by Army soldiers.

Army soldiers in pursuit of the fleeing rebels also recovered a cadaver of an unidentified person which was wrapped in a hammock, about 700 meters away from the encounter site. His identity is still being established by the 82nd Infantry Battalion.

The 82IB believes that he could be among those killed in the encounter.*

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