GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/11 May) – Government troops overran three major camps of the New People’s Army (NPA) in the mountains of Columbio town in Sultan Kudarat following a series of operations in the area.
Lt. Col. Alexis Noel Bravo, commander of the 27th Infantry Battalion, said Friday they seized the camps after several intense encounters with suspected rebels under the NPA’s Front 72 and Southern Alip Regional Guerrilla Unit.
“After our encounters, we continued to search the general area and found the abandoned temporary camps,” he said.
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But he said they found the three NPA camps already dismantled supposedly to prevent his troops from using them.
Bravo said they recovered from three camps several documents and personal belongings believed to be owned by the rebels and their leaders.
The Army official described the fallen positions as “major or big camps with trenches and foxholes” and located near several caves that the rebels had used as shelter.
“There’s a cave system in the mountains of Columbio and the rebels have used them for many years as escape route or for their protection,” he said.
Bravo said their troops have taken over the abandoned NPA camps, which they consider as strategic positions in connection with their continuing operations against the communist rebels.
He said one of their units is presently securing the area to prevent the NPA rebels, who reportedly fled towards nearby Tulunan town in North Cotabato, from reclaiming them.
The 27th IB launched the offensives against the NPA rebels following an encounter late last month at the boundary of Columbio and Magsaysay town in Davao Del Sur that left a soldier and five rebels dead.
Prior to the encounter, an estimated 40 NPA members stormed a military detachment in Barangay Bacungan in Columbio, which is near the mines development site of foreign-backed Sagittarius Mines Inc.
Bravo said the rebels, posing as mining workers, attacked the detachment on board a hijacked forward truck. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)