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3 dead in Davao encounter

CAMP BANCASI, Butuan City, Philippines – Two members of the New People’s Army (NPA) and a soldier were killed while scores of others, one of them a government militiaman, were wounded in a 30-minute gunbattle in Davao City on Tuesday afternoon, the military reported Wednesday.

Capt. Harold Ho, a civil military operation officer (CMO) of the Army’s 1003rd Infantry Brigade, said more troops were already deployed in the war zone to beef up the soldiers pursuing the fleeing communist insurgents.

The military identified the soldier killed in action as Elmer Wayan and the wounded Civilian Volunteer Organization member as Michael Pandia.

Ho said soldiers of the 69th Infantry Battalion (69th IB) are now pursuing undetermined number of heavily armed members of the CPP-NPA Southern Mindanao Regional Command (SMRC).

The firefight between government security forces and NPA rebels started at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday at mountainous remote village of Gumitan in Marilog District, Davao City.

Identities of the slain and wounded rebels were not immediately available as of press time.

Soldiers recovered improvised explosive devices (IED’s) and other war materials in the encounter site, Capt. Ho said. (Mike U. Crismundo)