4 dead, 5 hurt as Army, suspected NPA clash in Cotabato

NPA

Manila, Philippines – Four persons were killed while five others were wounded when government troops exchanged fire with suspected communist guerillas in a remote village in Makilala, Cotabato at dawn of Monday, a military official said.

Lieutenant Colonel Rhojun Rosales, newly-installed commander of the 39th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army, said one of those killed during the encounter was a member of the Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) operating in Makilala town while the rest were members of the New Peoples’ Army (NPA).

The Army said the names of slain and wounded CAFGU members would soon be available to the public once their families have been informed of the incident.

According to Rosales, a still undetermined number of NPA guerillas attacked a CAFGU detachment in Sitio Garing, Barangay Luayon in Makilala, and used the villagers as “shields” while government troops pursued them.

Jose Caparida, Department of Education supervisor for Makilala’s central district, told media here that residents saw helicopters hovering the sky and heard shots from the ground at around 3 a.m. Monday.

Despite the disturbance, classes were not suspended in Barangay Luayon, according to Caparida.

There was also no displacement of villagers, said Rosales.

He added that the bodies recovered from the encounter site were already brought to funeral homes in Makilala town, while the wounded CAFGU members were brought to nearby hospitals for treatment.

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