A soldier and a militiaman were killed in an encounter that broke out in Barangay San Isidro, Marihatag, Surigao del Sur at about 9 a.m. on Tuesday, an official said.
The firefight occurred shortly after a team, consisting of soldiers and a member of the Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit (Cafgu), was dispatched to respond to reports by civilians on the presence of armed men in the area, said 1Lt. Krisjuper Andreo Punsalan, civil-military operations officer of the Army's 3rd Special Forces Battalion.
In a text message sent to the Philippine News Agency (PNA) on Wednesday, Punsalan said the government forces, who were on board two motorcycles, encountered about five armed men, believed to be members of the New People's Army (NPA), upon reaching Barangay San Isidro.
He said the ensuing firefight lasted five minutes, resulting in the death of two government troopers whose names were withheld because their families had yet to be notified.
Punsalan said the NPA also suffered an undetermined number of casualties before withdrawing to the mountainous part of the village.
He said after the encounter, forces of the 7th Special Forces Command immediately helped track down the NPA rebels in the area
Source: Philippines News Agency