CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/5 Aug) – The military has claimed having killed two rebels in a clash with the New People’s Army (NPA) in an upland village in Misamis Oriental a few days ago while government troops sustaining no casualties.
Lt. Col. Eugenio Julio Osias IV, spokesperson of the Army’s 4th Infantry Division, said troops under the 58th Infantry Battalion clashed with at least 30 armed rebels around 5 p.m. Thursday last week at barangay Ampianga, Sugbongcogon town.
The rebels reportedly belonged to the NPA’s Sandatahang Platun Pangpropaganda III of Guerrilla Front 4B since the clash site is within the northeastern Mindanao regional committee’s area.
Osias said they recovered the bodies of the two NPA fatalities in the encounter site, along with one M1 Garand and one Carbine rifle, and about 30 backpacks that contained various “subversive materials.”
“Our troops on the ground said they discovered trails of blood as they were pursuing the withdrawing rebels. This indicates that there may be more casualties from the NPA,” Osias said.
Maj. Gen. Victor Felix, 4ID commanding general, said that although they treat the encounter as an “operational success, we will be happier if these NPAs had surrendered.”
“The loss of lives is the least that we will wish to happen. Your soldiers are here to serve, but sometimes it is inevitable that other lives must be taken” for the good of more people, Felix said in a text message over the weekend.
Brig. Gen. Romeo Gapuz, of the 403rd Infantry Brigade, said he has ordered his troops to pursue the NPA rebels. He claimed the rebels were extorting money when government troops chanced upon them.
“I appeal to every Filipino to help us by reporting presence of armed rebels and also to convince our brothers to lay down their arms and surrender,” Gapuz said in an emailed statement.
Osias feared that peace might remain elusive if the armed conflict between the Communist Party of the Philippines’ armed wing and government troops continue. (Cong B. Corrales / MindaNews)