One soldier was injured when government troops clashed with suspected New People’s Army (NPA) members in Palapag, Northern Samar, on Wednesday, the military said.

Capt. Gene Orense, spokesman of the Army’s 8th Infantry Division, identified the injured as Pfc. Joseph Griego, of the 34th Infantry Battalion.

Members of the 34th IB encountered an undetermined number of rebels in Brgy. Jangtud around 8:25 a.m., Orense said.

The 20-minute firefight resulted to the wounding of Griego and an undetermined number on the rebel side, he said.

Meanwhile, soldiers and policemen arrested five men who were caught carrying guns and explosives in Gandara, Samar, also on Wednesday.

The five, who were carrying four loaded caliber-.45 pistols, a hand grenade, explosive devices, and military back packs, were arrested in the outskirts of Brgy. Canhumawid around 8 a.m., Orense said.

When asked if the armed men were NPA members, Orense declined to comment, saying there is still an ongoing investigation.

The suspects are presently under the custody of the Gandara Police, which is preparing appropriate charges, he said. (John Roson)

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