BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Two Army soldiers died, while four others were injured, as government troopers successfully managed to thwart planned New People’s Army attack and extortion activities, during twin encounters on November 3 in Sitio Tiyos, Brgy. Quintin Remo, Moises Padilla, Negros Occidental, disclosed yesterday by Brig. Gen. Inocencio Pasaporte. 303rd Infantry Brigade commander.
Two of the six injured soldiers who were evacuated from the scene of encounter by two Air Force Black Hawk helicopters and brought to hospitals in Cebu City, however, died while being treated, Pasaporte said.
But he also said that the four other injured soldiers are now in stable condition. The identities of slain and injured soldiers have been withheld pending notification of their respective families.
Pasaporte said soldiers of the 79th Infantry Battalion assaulted a rebel lair reportedly occupied by about 25 armed rebels consolidating their forces, in response to reports of civilians in the community.
He reported that the firefight ensued for about one hour, which prompted the rebels to withdraw in separate directions, carrying their four injured comrades.
Troopers of the 62nd Infantry Battalion were also able to catch up some of the fleeing rebels, believed to be combined forces of the Sentro De Grabidad Platoon and Sandatahang Yunit Pampropaganda of Central Negros 1, which triggered a running gun battle.
Recovered from the first encounter site were three back packs, two cellular phones, assorted ammunition, four large cooking pots filled with rice, assorted supplies and personal belongings, aside from heavy traces of bloodstains.
Prior to the encounter, Pasaporte said they received reports on plans of the NPA to attack the ongoing Hilaitan-Trinidad farm to market road in Guihulngan City, which is now 90 percent complete and being secured by government forces.
Maj. Gen. Benedict Arevalo, 3rd Infantry Division commander, ordered Army troops in Negros to conduct relentless military operations against the NPA to prevent more of their terroristic activities.
Arevalo said they are still verifying if injured soldiers were also hit by shrapnel of exploded anti-personnel mine used by the fleeing rebels.*