PALAPAG, Northern Samar (January 7, 2016) — Two soldiers were wounded in a apparent blast attack early evening on Wednesday as government troopers were scouring the hinterlands of Bagacay village of this town for a reported presence of an armed group suspected to be members of the New People’s Army (NPA).

The blast came in shortly when the government troops started trailing a unidentified person but ended up in a planted improvised explosive device (IED) along the soldiers patrol course, that was subsequently blown off, hitting 2 soldiers with the torn shrapnel.

The wounded soldiers were identified as Cpl. Donnie A. Aton who was hit by the torned PVC canister of the IED, and Pfc. Bingbong Crisologo who sustained minor lacerations in the forehead due to IED fragments, both were brought to Northern Samar Provincial Hospital for treatment.

Based on the report obtained by Aksyon Radyo Catbalogan  from 8th Infantry Division – Public Affairs Office chief Capt. Isagani Viernes, the soldiers numbering to about 16 led by 2Lt. Jeffrey Angelo Flores, all belonging to the 20th Infantry Battalion, were on a long range patrol in the mountainous area of Bagacay village upon receiving reports from residents that an armed group were seen lingering within the vicinity of their village.

“They were trailing a suspicious individual in the area, and that led them to the group of the rebels who have deliberately planted and blow-off an IED”, said Viernes.

A fire fight for about 10 minutes ensued after the blast, but the suspected rebels allegedly scampered in various direction.

Meanwhile, village residents told ARC that some of the villagers immediately evacuated the area for fear that they might be used as human shield by the escaping rebels.

Viernes however told that the villagers has nothing to worry about because the soldiers will never mount up an armed pursuit inside the village.

“That is a standing protocol, beside once the rebels were able to enter the village, in most cases, they would usually hide their fire arms as they mingle with the residents but for this case, the soldiers clarified that the escape direction of the suspected rebels was not towards the village, and the good thing is, most of the residents in the area are cooperative with us, in fact the information about the presence of the said armed group came in from the residents of the village” Viernes concluded. (AKSYONRADYOCATBALOGAN.COM)