2 soldiers hurt as Army, NPA clash in Capiz

Two Army troopers were injured in an armed encounter with suspected members of the New People's Army (NPA) in Tapaz, Capiz on Sunday morning, Sept. 26.

Elements of the Army's 12th Infantry Battalion (12IB) clashed with 10 suspected NPAs who were allegedly extorting residents in Barangay Siya around 6 a.m., said Lt. Col. Joseph Jason Estrada.

Estrada, commanding officer of the 12th IB, said they received reports from the residents about the presence of heavily armed men in their community so the military immediately responded. The soldiers were met with gunfire as they were approaching the alleged rebels.

One soldier was reportedly hit in the arm while the other one sustained a bullet wound in the leg. Both of them were already in a stable condition.

The communist rebels only withdrew when the troops returned fire.

Estrada believes there were casualties on the side of the enemies as there were traces of blood at the encounter site.

Meanwhile, Major Gen. Benedict Arevalo, commander of 3rd Infantry Division (3ID), lauded the troops for thwarting the extortion try of the NPA in Barangay Siya.

"Having casualty sometimes cannot be avoided. This is part of our job and the risk we have to face to sustain the peace and security in the hinterland barangays," he said.

Pursuit operations were on-going to arrest the rebels.

Seized at the encounter site were a rifle grenade; four ammunition of M203 grenade launcher; ten cellphones; six hard disk drives; a handheld radio, and various documents.