Four soldiers killed, two wounded in NPA ambush in Camarines Sur

May 31, 2010 1:38 pm 

LEGAZPI CITY, May 31 — At least four Army soldiers died and two others were wounded in an ambush staged by New People’s Army (NPA) on Sunday in a remote village in Presentacion town in Camarines Sur, a military officer said Monday.

The four bodies of dead soldiers, including an officer earlier reported to be missing, were retrieved also on Sunday by Army trooper in an upland village of Presentacion town in Camarines Sur.

Lt. Col. Ernesto Cruz, Commander of the 42nd Infantry Battalion, said that his unit has already found the bodies of the missing soldiers near the encounter site.

“All of my missing soldiers are already accounted for. We will immediately transport them towards our headquarters in Nabua town,” said Cruz.

Cruz identified the fatalities as First Lieutenant Miguel Logronio Jr., a member of the Philippine Military Academy Class of 2009, Corporal Arturo Hernandez, Pfc. Albert Jamera, and Pfc. Edwin Britannico. All of them suffered multiple gunshot and shrapnel wounds.

Injured were Private First Class Jerry Magdasoc and Carlos Codires, both sustained gunshot wounds on the legs.

Responding soldiers also found Private First Class Bernard Vergara who was unscathed in the ambush.

The victims were members of a team of soldiers dispatched to conduct pursuit operations against the NPA rebels, who were involved in a shooting incident in Bicalen village, Presentacion, Camarines Sur.

The soldiers were ambushed by more or less 20 heavily armed rebels at around 3 a.m. Sunday at barangay San Francisco, Presentacion, Camarines Sur.

Major Harold Cabunoc, Division spokesman, said that the 12-man squad of soldiers, led by First Lieutenant Logronio Jr., were on combat patrol in a remote village in Presentacion town when they were ambushed by NPA who were positioned in a forested area.

Vergara was among the five soldiers reported missing by military authorities. He was able to send a text message to his superiors about his status, triggering the large-scale rescue operations starting early this morning.

“I was lucky enough to have jumped towards a defilade area during the detonation of the first set of landmines. We gave them a good fight but the terrorist rebels have occupied a higher ground. The number of Molotov bombs and grenades thrown at us seemed endless so I decided to crawl farther away from the encounter site,” said Vergara.

“We had also inflicted casualties among our ambushers. I have personally seen them carrying their dead and wounded from my concealed position near the encounter site,” Vergara added.

Responding soldiers led by First Lieutenant Nonito Alcala found four unexploded landmines near the roadside. His troops also discovered some droplets of blood in the rebel positions.

“The rebels were planning to wipe out any military vehicle that will pass by their ambush position. They have planted larger sized landmines near the road and any large truck can be blown to pieces by those mines,” Alcala said.

Major General Ruperto Pabustan, Commander of the 9th Infantry Division, has directed the 902nd Brigade to intensify its combat patrols and security operations to protect the road project which links Presentacion and Caramoan towns. (PNA)

FFC/LQ/MSA/cbd

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