DAVAO CITY, Philippines, April 2 (Xinhua) -- Two soldiers were wounded as government troops clashed with suspected leftist rebels in southern Philippines on Sunday, police and military officials said on Monday.
The clashes happened almost simultaneously as policemen and soldiers from the army's 75th Infantry Battalion were conducting patrols in Surigao and Agusan del Sur provinces, said Superintendent Martin Gamba, spokesperson of Caraga police regional office.
Corporal Veloso Modang was slightly wounded following a 50- minute encounter between soldiers and local policemen on one side and an unknown number of New People's Army rebels on the other at Das-agan village, San Francisco town, Agusan del Sur around 12 p.m.
About 83 families or 316 individuals from the nearby village of Tambis, Barobo town, in Surigao del Sur province fled their homes for fear of being caught in the crossfire, said Colonel Leopoldo Galon, spokesperson of the Eastern Mindanao Command.
Galon told Xinhua by text message that another soldier, Private First Class Victor Damaso, was also wounded in a separate clash in Anomar village, in the regional capital of Surigao City.
The police and military officials said they have yet to receive reports of casualties on the rebel side and that troops have seized destroyed rifle parts, improvised bombs, personal belongings and supplies believed left by the fleeing rebels.
Earlier in the day, clashes were also reported in the northern province of Bukidnon, as the military used a trainer-attack aircraft to bomb suspected rebel positions. That encounter and bombing run in Kibawe town apparently did not cause casualties on either side, Galon said.
The 4,000-strong NPA, armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, is fighting a leftist insurgency in 60 Philippine provinces since March 29, 1969.