Another officer killed in Zambo siege
1Lt Francis Damian passes away a day after he got wounded in Barangay Sta Barbara

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – Another lieutenant died on Tuesday, September 24, after getting wounded in a gun battle with Muslim rebels here.

1Lt Francis Damian died at 8:40 am on Tuesday at the Ciudad Zamboanga Hospital, a day after he was wounded in an encounter with a renegade faction of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in Barangay Sta Barbara, according to Army spokesman Lt Col Randolph Cabangbang.

Damian was 28, married, and a 2007 graduate of the Philippine Military Academy.

Cabangbang said Damian was with the 3rd Light Reaction Company (LRC) of the Army, an elite mobile team that was first set up a decade ago with the help of the US Special Forces. The LRC is under the Special Operations Command of the Philippine Army.

Only last Monday, September 23, the Army announced the death of another officer, 2nd Lt Florencio Mikael Meneses, also at the Ciudad Zamboanga Hospital. A Scout Ranger officer, Meneses was shot in a September 21 encounter with MNLF rebels in Barangay Sta Catalina.

The military here has claimed it is conducting “clearing operations” against MNLF rebels and that government troops have cornered them. But intense fighting continues. The standoff is already on its second week. – 



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