5 troopers hurt in Samar ambush

Ricky Bautista (The Philippine Star) - April 17, 2016 - 10:00am

BASEY, Samar, Philippines – Five Army troopers were wounded in an ambush by suspected New People’s Army (NPA) guerrillas in this town yesterday morning.

The troopers were traveling along the highway in Barangay New San Agustin when their vehicle hit an improvised explosive device (IED) believed planted by the rebels, according to S/Sgt. John Siervo, one of the soldiers who responded to the scene.

Siervo said the explosion was followed by a burst of gunfire from the rebels who were positioned on both sides of the highway.

The explosion left the five troopers wounded, but two of them managed to return fire as they rushed to take cover.

The firefight lasted 30 minutes.

Siervo said the rebels raided the military vehicle and took the firearms and personal belongings left behind by the troopers.

The five were identified as S/Sgt. Luisito Abelido and Privates First Class Danilo Silagan, Domie Sanchez, Renato Padernal and a certain Baldonado.  They were rushed to a hospital in Tacloban City for treatment.

Responding soldiers and police officers recovered bullets and shells for different rifles, IED fragments and bomb-making paraphernalia.

Also found at the scene were water bottles, left-over food, improvised bedsheets, white headbands and pieces of clothing.

“These showed that the rebels, around 50 of them, had camped out here overnight,” said.

The military said the rebels were led by a certain Kumander Dulay of the NPA’s Regional Guerrilla Unit operating in the towns of Paranas, Sta. Rita, Basey and Marabut.

Rizza Macalalad, of the Basey Tourism Office, said the incident might compel them to cancel tourist arrivals today.

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