An Army lieutenant was killed while two other soldiers were injured as government troops clashed with New People’s Army (NPA) members in San Agustin, Surigao del Sur, on Friday, the military said.

The fatality was a second lieutenant and the injured have ranks of private first class, Capt. Christian Uy, Army 4th Infantry Division spokesman, said.

All three belong to the Army’s 3rd Special Forces Battalion (3rd SFB), he said.

The clash erupted in Brgy. Buhisan around 12:30 p.m.

A company of the 3rd SFB was checking on reports that NPA members were “foraging” in the village, when they encountered about 30 rebels, Uy said.

The firefight lasted for about 20 minutes, after which the rebels withdrew to the hinterlands, he said.

Soldiers did not find slain or wounded rebels, but saw trails of blood along their route of withdrawal, Uy said.

A UH-1H helicopter was later sent to the site to fetch the slain and wounded soldiers. The injured are now being treated at a hospital in Butuan City.

“Sa ngayon tuluy-tuloy pa rin ‘yung operations, nagdagdag tayo ng tropa doon at baka mahagip nila uli ‘yung mga tumakbong rebelde,” Uy said. (John Roson)

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