SIX soldiers and a New People’s Army rebel died in a firefight in Borongan City in Eastern Samar on Monday afternoon, the military reported yesterday.
Another 20 soldiers were injured.
Capt. Reynaldo Aragones, spokesman of the Army’s 8th Infantry Division, said the rebels detonated bombs during the firefight with soldiers from the 14th Infantry Battalion.
“They detonated the bombs during the encounter. That’s why we have so many casualties,” he said.
Aragones said the soldiers encountered about 50 communist rebels in Barangay Pinanag-an at around 5 p.m. Monday as they were checking the reported presence of an NPA group extorting food and money from civilians.
Aragones said the rebels opened fire at the soldiers, triggering a 30-minute clash during which the rebels detonated six improvised bombs.
Aragones said the body of the slain NPA rebel was recovered during clearing operations.
The slain Army troopers were all enlisted personnel. Aragones withheld their names pending the notification of their families.
All the injured soldiers are also enlisted personnel.
“It’s unfortunate that we lost six men,” said Aragones, adding the 8th ID leadership is processing benefits due the slain and wounded personnel.