Eleven soldiers, including an Army captain, and a civilian were killed in an ambush by members of the communist New People’s Army (NPA) in Tinoc, Ifugao, Wednesday morning, military and police officials said.

Killed were Capt. Kafilas, Ssgt. Torres, Cpl. Lazaro, Pfc. Salud, Pfc. Lakitero, Pfc. Veloria, Pfc. Dawaton, Pfc. David, Pfc. Naliw, Pfc. Lorenzo, and Pfc. Sanadan, all of the Army’s 86th Infantry Battalion; and civilian Aimee Labug, Col. Miguel Puyao, 5th Infantry Division civil-military operations officer, told reporters by phone.

Injured were 2Lt. Navaties, Pfc. Lopez, and another civilian identified as Jefferson dela Cruz.

The ambush occurred around 8 a.m. while members of the 86th Infantry Battalion under Lt. Col. Eugene Batara were passing through Sitio Buhyo, Brgy. Gumhang, Supt. Richard Verceles, Cordillera regional police spokesman, said in a text message.

Batara, his men, and the two civilians were riding a 6×6 truck and two KM-450 trucks on the way back to their headquarters in Kiangan, when they were fired upon by an undetermined number of rebels.

Labug and Dela Cruz are both members of a band that was invited to play for a change of command ceremony, Puyao said.

“Galing sila sa turnover, change of command ng isang kompanya natin sa Tinoc… lumaban ‘yung sundalo natin, hanggang 11:15 nagpuputukan pa,” he said.

The victims have already been airlifted to the station hospital of 5th ID camp in Gamu, Isabela, as of this writing. (John Roson)

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