10 killed, 11 hurt in Davao Sur clashes

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Monday, March 10, 2014

MANILA (Updated) -- Ten people were killed while 11 others were wounded following a series of clashes and landmine attacks in Matanao town, Davao Del Sur Monday morning.

Captain William Alfred Rodriquez, 1002nd Infantry Brigade civil-military operations officer, said six of those killed were soldiers, two policemen and the remaining two were rebel fighters.

Rodriquez said the slain soldiers were on their way to reinforce the military's Dongapekong Detachment in Matanao town, which was being harassed by the New People's Army (NPA), when the rebels detonated a landmine as their convoy was passing through Sitio Lakah, Barangay Asbang, Matanao around 9:00 a.m.

Six troopers were immediately killed in the blast while eight others wounded.

Earlier, an estimated 50 rebels attacked the Matanao Municipal Police Station around 4:30 a.m. Monday, killing two police officers and wounding three others.

The slain police officers were identified as Police Officer 3 (PO3) Danny Laganse Moalong and PO3 Manolo Lazarte Booc Jr.

Those wounded were identified as Inspector Renato Yulin Uy, PO1 Sherwin Ray Diapana Cadungog and PO1 Nelbert Portabes.

The police and military authorities has arrested nine suspected NPA members who raided Matanao Police Station.

Senior Superintendent Ronaldo Llanera, Davao Sur police provincial director, said the nine were among the more than 50 NPA rebels who attacked the police station.

"They (suspected NPA rebels) are now undergoing tactical interrogation, we have arrested them in Barangay Saboy, also in Matanao,” Llanera told reporters.

Quoting reports from Matanao police, Llanera said about 50 rebels on board a jeepney, forward truck and Elf-type truck arrived shortly before 4:00 a.m.

Policemen, although outnumbered, managed to return fire, triggering a gun battle that lasted for about an hour until the rebels fled.

The rebel force, which is under the command of one Felix Armodia, leader of the rebels' Front 72, managed to snatch seven M16 automatic rifles, two 9mm pistols, one .45-caliber pistol and two hand-held radios.

Following the attack, around 6:50 a.m., other members of the NPA group had an encounter with the 39 Infantry Batallion (IB) blocking force at Sitio Tagaytay, Barangay Savoy in Matanao, resulting to the killing of two members of the bandit group.

Rodriquez said that pursuit operations are still ongoing. (PNA/Sunnex/With Third Anne Peralta)

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