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Army officer killed, 2 soldiers wounded in Davao City attack
Communist insurgents killed an Army officer and wounded two soldiers in a firefight in Davao City.
Major Ezra Balagtey, Philippine Army spokesman, said First Lieutenant Jarren Jay Relota, 27, was killed in Barangay Mapula of Paquibato district, a stronghold of the New People's Army (NPA).
He said Relota's group from the 16th Infantry Battalion was sent to the village after civilians reported the presence of rebels but were fired upon the rebels.
"During the exchange of fire and maneuver, the terrorists detonated an improvised landmine wounding two soldiers while killing Lt. Relota," Balagtey said.
Major General Noel Clement, regional Army commander, expressed grief over the killing of Relota and vowed to "continue to pursue the peace in the area, and prevent such incident that will add misery to the communities."
Earlier, the NPA said it will not be cowed by President Duterte's all-out war against the communist group, saying rebel forces are ready to strike at any opportune time anywhere in the country.
The rebel group also claimed responsibility for its daring attack on a military post in North Cotabato's Makilala town that resulted in the seizure of weapons and grenades.
But it said three of its fighters were killed in the recent clash in Barangay Luayon.
In a statement sent to the media, the NPA's Valentin Palamine Regional Operations Command boasted its "audacious attack" against the 39th Infantry Battalion (IB) and its militias.
Dencio Madrigal, rebel spokesman, said the "NPA confiscated M14 rifle and M16 rifle, five rifle grenades, assorted ammunition, vests and military equipment. The action is a decisive riposte against the US-Duterte regime's impudent terrorism and perfidious imposition of martial law in Mindanao. The NPA is ever ready to wage war against terrorist suppression in order to protect the rights and welfare of the oppressed and exploited people."
It added that the raid also serves as punitive action against the 39IB and the citizens' auxiliary brigade "for their numerous atrocities towards the civilians," including the "killings of activists and lumad and the incessant harassment of innocent civilians in North Cotabato and Davao del Sur."
Madrigal identified their members killed in the fighting as Raymart Rusiana, Roger Labajo Jr. and a certain Ka Tomas.
[Source: By Al Jacinto, The Manila Times, Zamboanga City, 27Jan18]
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