MANILA — Seven Philippine soldiers, including an air force colonel, died when the helicopter they were flying in crashed in the southern Philippines during a hunt for communist rebels over the weekend.
The military said the helicopter, a refurbished UH-1H Vietnam-era craft commonly known as a Huey, was flying Saturday with another Huey on a supply run to a remote base in Pantaron, a mountainous region in Bukidnon Province, when it crashed.
“The other helicopter radioed and told them they were trailing smoke,” said Maj. Gen. Andres Centeno, the commanding general of the army’s Fourth Infantry Division. “It crashed into an open field.”
No survivors were found when rescuers reached the area, he said.
The soldiers’ names were not released pending notification of their families, but the highest ranking among them was an air force colonel, the military said. Of the other six, three were airmen and three served in the army.
The forward-operating base was set up as part of a campaign to finally eradicate the New People’s Army, the armed unit of the Communist Party of the Philippines. The insurgent group has been locked in a low-intensity conflict with the government in Manila since 1969. The rebels’ fighting force is currently estimated to be around 5,000 people, down from a high of 20,000 spread across the archipelago nation at the height of the insurgency in the early 1980s.
The government ordered intensified operations against the New People’s Army, or N.P.A., after the group announced this month that it was reviving its urban hit squads to target officials who it said had committed “crimes against the public.”
The N.P.A. said it was planning to
Posts from the same category:
- None Found