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Troops, NPA clash in Quezon; 12 dead

Ten New People’s Army rebels and two soldiers were killed in an encounter in General Nakar, Quezon Thursday.

Two soldiers were wounded in the 2 p.m. clash that occurred one day before communist rebels were expected to declare a ceasefire with the government.

Lt. Col. Randolph Cabangbang, commander of the Army 80th Infantry Battalion, identified the slain soldiers as Sgt. Nelson O. Zamora and Sgt. Bernard M. Rosete.

Cabangbang said that his troops were dispatched to Sitio Pahimuan, Barangay Lumutan after receiving information on the presence of NPA rebels.

They were scouring the area when they encountered around 30 NPA members belonging to the Narciso Antazo Aramil Command. A gunfight ensued that lasted for two hours.

As a result, ten NPA rebels, including two women, and two soldiers were killed and two troopers were wounded in the encounter.

The rebels withdrew to a still unknown direction. Troops recovered a rifle grenade, bullets, and empty shells in the encounter site.

The wounded soldiers were taken to the Armed Forces of the Philippines Medical Center in Quezon City.

Cabangbang said pursuit operations against the fleeing rebels are ongoing. (FRANCIS T. WAKEFIELD)