Presidential Security Group (PSG) members were wounded in an ambush by suspected New People’s Army (NPA) members in Arakan town, North Cotabato early morning on Wednesday (July 19).
According to PSG spokesperson Col. Mike Aquino, ten PSG members were travelling to Cagayan de Oro on board 2 vehicles- a black Nissan and a White Ford when they encountered the suspected NPA in the boundary of Arakan and Davao City.
Fifty (50) armed men were reportedly wearing military uniforms. Aquino also stated that they have reason to believe members of the NPA were behind the incident, which he said was an “encounter” and not an ambush.
“May nakitaan na nagpapanggap sa check point, Task Force Davao pa ang nakalagay. Alam mo naman itong grupo na ito mapagpanggap sila. Noong na-detect ng tropa na ‘di sila totoong sundalo, doon nagkaputukan,” Aquino said.
(There were men pretending to be a Task Force Davao conducting a spot checkpoint. You know this group is used by the NPA pretending they are soldiers. And when we found out that they are not real soldiers, gunshots started. )
The suspected NPA eventually withdrew and shot dead a member of the Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit, identified as Benjamin Pandia. Pandia reportedly introduced himself as a CAFGU member to the rebels after mistaking them for soldiers.
Four presidential security men were wounded in the ensuing fire fight. The wounded were rushed to a local hospital in Arakan as police and army troops were dispatched to hunt down the attackers.
PSG commander Col. Louie Dagoy they are yet to determine whether the four PSG members sustained serious or critical injuries but they were treated in a hospital in Buda and then evacuated to Cagayan de Oro.
The incident happened is the second time that PSG members were attacked in Mindanao. In December, the PSG was also ambushed in Marawi City prior to the visit of President Rodrigo Duterte in Butig. Seven members were wounded in that encounter