11 soldiers killed, 7 others hurt in NPA ambush in Oriental Mindoro
In an interview with GMANews.TV, Lt. Col. Romeo Brawner Jr. of the Armed Forces’ public information office said a platoon of the 23rd Division Reconnaissance Company (DRC) of the Philippine Army was waylaid by suspected NPA rebels at about 5:30 a.m. Saturday in a mountainous area in Brgy. Panaytayan in Mansalay town.
Brawner said soldiers led by 2nd Lt. Ronnie Sipsip were conducting “clearing operations" through security patrols in preparation for the upcoming campaign period for local government officials on March 26 when the ambush happened. The exchange of fire lasted for three hours.
“Although at a disadvantage compared to the well-emplaced terrorist encampment, the 23rd DRC troops fought it out literally to the last bullet," Brawner said in a separate text message.
The eleven soldiers died on the spot, while seven others who sustained injuries were evacuated to a hospital, according to Brawner. Casualties on the enemy side was undetermined.
The AFP has yet to identify the fatalities and the wounded personnel as of posting time.
Pursuit operations are currently being conducted in the area against the suspected NPA members, Brawner said.—JV, GMANews.TV