A soldier was killed while another was wounded when motorcycle riding suspects ambushed them in Midsayap, North Cotabato Wednesday.

Lt. Col. John Miridel Calinga, Midsayap town police chief, said Cpl. Earl Tabaranza, 31, and Pfc. Meljay Bernal, 30, both members of the Army’s 34th Infantry Battalion (34IB), were ambushed around 11 a.m. along the national highway in Barangay Central Glad, about five kilometers from the town center by motorcycle riding-in-tandem suspects.

Both the military and police authorities of North Cotabato and Maguindanao province are conducting hot pursuit operations against the suspects.

Two hours after they were ambushed, Bernal died while being treated at a local hospital. 

“He (Bernal) succumbed to multiple gunshot wounds in the body,” Calinga said.

Tabaranza is out of danger and recuperating at a local hospital as of posting time.

Both soldiers were on their way to the town proper while riding a motorcycle when out of nowhere, two gunmen riding another motorbike assaulted them. Both soldiers fell from their motorbike as the suspects escaped the crime scene.

Four .45-caliber empty shells were discovered at the ambush site by the police.

Army and police officials suspect the Islamic State-inspired Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) as the people behind the attack since the military was involved in operations that neutralized  several BIFF radicals in recent months. (RJ Espartinez)