Philippine rebels kill 7 soldiers

DAVAO CITY (Mindanao Examiner / Aug. 5, 2012) – New People’s Army rebels killed 7 soldiers, including its commander, in a fire fight in the Mindanao province of Compostela Valley, a spokesman said Sunday.

Rebel spokesman Joel Awang said one of their members was also slain in this week’s clash in the town of Maragusan. He said rebels ambushed a platoon of army soldiers in the village of Paloc that left 10 infantrymen wounded.

The 10th Infantry Division earlier said that only one soldier was killed by a rebel sniper while trying to save another trooper during the fighting.

“As its standard operating procedure, the enemy downplayed its casualties, and emphasized the fascist troops’ so-called bravery by falsely depicting one of the fatalities dying from the NPA’s sniper’s bullet while attempting to save his colleague,” Awang said in a statement sent to the Mindanao Examiner.

He also accused the military of harassing civilians in the town and accused the soldiers of human rights violations in at least 10 villages in Maragusan. He said the soldiers, who belong to the 66th Infantry Battalion, acted as private security guards for banana plantations owned by Stanfilco-DOLE Philippines, an allegation strongly denied by the military.

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