DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 11 Feb) – A member of the New People’s Army (NPA) was killed while Army soldiers recovered two improvised explosive devices (IEDs) during a series of firefights that erupted Wednesday morning in Compostela Valley.
In a statement, Capt. Rhyan Batchar, chief of the Public Affairs Office (PAO) of the 10th Infantry Division, said that the first incident took place at 9:55 a.m. at Sitio Panganason, Brgy. Napnapan in Pantukan town when soldiers of the 46th Infantry Battalion engaged the fleeing NPA members under the command of a certain Raden.
The second incident occurred at 10 a.m. and lasted 20 minutes at Tabon-Tabon, Sitio Putingbato, Brgy. Ngan in the municipality of Compostela when soldiers who were on a mission chanced upon 30 rebels under NPA’s Guerilla Front 25 of the Southern Mindanao Regional Committee.
No soldiers were hurt in the two clashes but a still unidentified alleged NPA member was reportedly killed during the second incident, where the two IEDs were also recovered.
Maj. Gen. Ragel Valencia, 10ID commander, said: “Our use of legitimate force against the NPAs shall continue until the NPAs abandon violence paving the way for peace and development in Compostela Valley Province,” he said.
Government soldiers have already launched pursuit operations.
Minor NPA member captured
In another encounter on Tuesday, a minor member of the NPA was captured while a wounded rebel died upon arriving at a hospital in Pantukan municipality.
“A soldier was wounded, high-powered firearms recovered and two fleeing wounded NPAs were captured in a checkpoint after the armed clash,” a military press statement said.
The wounded soldier was identified as Cpl. Boskie Carcellar, who sustained a gunshot wound on his left chest. He was then airlifted to Camp Panacan Station Hospital in Davao City where he received treatment.
The statement added that the two NPA members – identified as Ronel Paas, 35, resident of Lower Lahi, Purok 6, Magnaga, Pantukan; and Ric (not his real name), 14, of Purok 3, Brgy. Panibasa, Maco – were arrested at the checkpoint in Brgy. Tibagon. They were brought to a hospital accompanied by personnel from the Pantukan Municipal Police Station.
But Paas succumbed to a gunshot wound on his lower chest while the minor NPA combatant survived with a gunshot wound on his lower left leg.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development and the Commission on Human Rights were tapped to look into the case of the young NPA member.
“Some of the NPAs, including the wounded, sought refuge in the mining tunnels in the area. Soldiers tried to pursue them but they had a hard time finding their way inside the tunnels as some of the passageways are very narrow,” the military said.