(Updated 2:10 a.m.) Five civilians and 11 soldiers were injured when New People’s Army (NPA) members carried out back-to-back landmine attacks in Bansalan, Davao del Sur, Sunday, the military said.

The latest explosion occurred 7:30 p.m. in Sitio Tower, Brgy. Managa, hitting an ambulance with civilian volunteers of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) on board, Capt. William Alfred Rodriguez, civil-military operations officer of the Army’s 1002nd Brigade, said by phone.

The military identified the injured volunteers as Alberto Cabual Jr., Henaro Dumayas, Arnel Valeroso, Ivan Malingo, and Bonita Dela Cruz.

Dumayas and Cabual are reportedly in critical condition at the Digos Doctors Hospital while the others suffered slight injuries, Rodriguez said.

The PDRRMC ambulance, along with two others manned by Red Cross members and soldiers, was on its way to fetch soldiers who were injured in another landmine blast in Sitio Balutakay, also in Brgy. Managa, past 11 a.m. Rodriguez said.

Eleven members of the 39th Infantry Battalion, including two officers, were injured in the earlier blast, he said. Four of the soldiers are reportedly in critical condition.

The wounded soldiers’ names and ranks were not immediately available.

Troops were sent to Managa to check an information that rebels were “consolidating” in the barangay, Rodriguez said.

The soldiers clashed with an undetermined number of rebels for about an hour and were maneuvering when they were landmined, he said.

Additional soldiers have been sent to the area to extricate the landmined ambulance amid intelligence reports that the rebels will sieze it, Rodriguez said.

Four members of the NPA’s Front 51 were reportedly killed and several others are believed to be hurt during the clash, he said.

The NPA, the Communist Party of the Philippines’ armed wing, is set to celebrate its 45th founding anniversary on March 29. (John Roson)

– end –