NPA rebels practicing offensive maneuvers.Pic: Edwin Espejo.

Six soldiers and two NPA rebels were killed Monday after a foiled attack by 50 communist guerrillas on a town police station of Matanao in Davao del Sur claimed the lives of two policemen at dawn this morning, bringing the total number of casualties to 10.

Army Brigade spokesman Capt. William Rodriguez confirmed six government soldiers were killed while eight others were wounded when the military truck they were traveling in hit a landmine.

The soldiers were dispatched to reinforce the besieged police headquarters and pursue the fleeing rebels, but ran into an NPA blocking force who detonated the landmine in Barangay Asbang at around 9am Monday.

Two police officers were killed dawn Monday when NPA guerrillas launched a failed assault at the town’s police station.

Members of the Philippine Army’s 39th Infantry Battalion manning a checkpoint in Barangay Savoy, also in Matanog, Davao del Sur, earlier apprehended nine alleged NPA guerrillas who fled after failing to overrun the Matanog police station.

Capt. Rodriguez said despite being outnumbered, the town’s police force was able to repel the rebel attackers.

Pursuing government soldiers recovered the bodies of two of NPA rebels in Barangay Talaytay, according to Capt. Rodriguez.

This brought the total casualties in Monday’s series of bloody incidents to 10: six soldiers, two policemen and two NPA rebels.

The NPA rebels who raided the town police headquarters and engaged pursuing government soldiers are believed to be headed by Felix Armodia, alias Ka Jing, who in December vowed to launch more rebel offensives.

Ka Jing heads the Front 72 Mt. Alip Command of the communist-led New People’s Army’s Far South Mindanao Regional Command.

Monday’s NPA raid came several days after another NPA unit from the Southern Mindanao Party Command also ambushed and exploded a landmine in nearby town of Bansalan in which 11 soldiers were wounded. 

The wounded soldiers also belonged to the 39th IB.  The landmine explosion also injured five civilian members of the Davao del Sur provincial rescue and disaster management coordinating council.

The Southern Mindanao Regional Party Committee of the CPP-NPA has apologized for the incident.