An Army trooper was killed after clashing with a group of suspected New People’s Army rebels in a remote village in Santo Niño on Wednesday afternoon (Feb. 8).
Lt Col. Rembert Baylosis, commander of the Army’s 17th Infantry Battalion, said the soldier was killed after his team exchanged gunfire with a still undetermined number of armed men in remote Barangay (village) Balanni.
The identity of the lone casualty was withheld pending notice to his family.
Baylosis said the Army squad led by 2Lt. Leonardo Faura was undertaking a “security operation” at a forested area near the Rizal-Santo Niño town border when they chanced upon the armed group.
A 20-minute firefight ensued, before the armed men escaped towards the forests of Mount Annaguan.
Baylosis said the rebels are believed to have suffered casualties after trails of blood were found along their escape route.