Soldier killed in clashes in S Philippines

DAVAO CITY, the Philippines – Government troops clashed anew with suspected leftist rebels in southern Philippines on Sunday, leaving one soldier dead and four others wounded, police said on Monday.

The incident happened as Philippine army rangers were conducting simultaneous combat operations in the villages of Zapanta valley and Maribuhok, Kitcharao town, in Mindanao’s Agusan del Sur province shortly before noon Sunday, according to Superintendent Martin Gamba, Caraga police regional spokesperson.

In a statement sent to Xinhua, Superintendent Gamba said three soldiers from the 6th Scout Rangers Company under Lieutenants Marco and Sara-sara were wounded in an encounter with New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in Zapanta valley around 11 a.m.

Another group of soldiers from the 5th Scout Rangers Company also ran into an undetermined number of NPA guerrillas in nearby Maribuhok, setting off a clash that killed a soldier and injured another, Gamba said, adding pursuit operation against the rebels was immediately launched.

The 5, 000-strong NPA, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, is fighting a 42-year leftist insurgency and is active in 60 Philippine provinces.

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