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Two Armymen Hurt in Masbate Bomb Attack

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 22 - Two Army soldiers were hurt on Thursday in a landmine explosion at a roadside in a remote village in Uson town in Masbate, a report reaching the Philippine Army (PA) in Camp Simeon Ola said Friday.

Army Corporal Florante Indica and Private First Class Marlouie Lumanga, members of the Bravo Company sustained shrapnel wounds in their bodies.

Army Maj. Harold Cabunoc, 9th Infantry Division spokesman, said the wounded soldiers were members of the two squad of Army soldiers to be deployed on Thursday to Cawayan town to provide security in that place for the upcoming barangay and Sangguninag Kabataan Election on October 25.

Cabunoc said the incident took place around 11:30 p.m. Thursday when the soldiers led by 2Lt. Bahnarin Camsa were on board an Elf truck. While they were negotiating a road in barangay Rosario in Uson town, their vehicle hit an improvised explosive devise planted by suspected New People's Army (NPA) rebels.

Only two of the 25 soldiers were hurt by the rebel bomb attack, Cabunoc said. They were rushed to a nearby hospital for treatment and were later declared out of danger by attending physicians.

Cabunoc in an interview said at least three ambuscades were initiated by communist rebels in villages in Uson town this year.

Army troopers are currently on hot pursuit of the communist rebels.

At the start of the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan election campaign, at least 26 towns in Bikol were identified as "hot spot" areas, prompting the police and military authorities to recommend these areas to be placed under the control of the Commission on Election (Comelec) during the polls on October 25.

Based on the list, Masbate has the most number of villages to be placed under Comelec control with 40 in 18 towns, followed by Catanduanes with seven villages in six towns; Camarines Norte with 10 villages; and Albay with only one village. (PNA)