Two soldiers got killed when a landmine exploded in Makilala, North Cotabato, Monday morning, a military official said.

Killed were privates first class Alejandro and Musa, both of the 40th Infantry Battalion, Brig. Gen. Manuel Ochotorena, assistant division commander of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, said.

“Naapakan ‘yung landmine while on clearing… buhay pa nung una at dadalhin na sana sa ospital pero di pa dumadating yung chopper nag-expire na sila,” Ochotorena said in a phone interview.

The explosion occurred around 10 a.m. while a platoon of the 40th IB was conducting clearing operations in Brgy. Buhay, where other soldiers encountered about 50 rebels on Sunday.

“Tinitingnan sana ngayon kung may mga natira pang rebelde dun sa area, kaso tinaniman ng landmine yung tropa… so naapakan ‘yung landmine while on clearing, kung hindi sundalo nakaapak nun baka sibilyan pa,” Ochotorena said.

Around 9:45 a.m. Sunday, members of the 62nd Division Reconnaissance Company clashed with 50 fully-armed rebels led by alias “Budong,” commander of the NPA Southern Mindanao Regional Party Committee Guerilla Front 51’s Sentro de Grabidad.

Private first class Alfie Jay Bantulo suffered a shrapnel wound on his buttocks during the clash and was brought to Camp Panacan Station Hospital in Davao City via helicopter in the evening. (John Roson)

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