Army overruns rebel camp in N. Cotabato

KIDAPAWAN CITY (Mindanews/15 Apr) – The Army in North Cotabato overran today in Makilala town a suspected training camp of the New Peoples’ Army (NPA) after a running gun battle between government troops and communist guerillas that lasted for three hours.

Lt. Andolong Durado, chief of civil military operations of the 57th Infantry Battalion, said the soldiers recovered from the rebel camp several
bomb-making materials, including electrical wires, detonating cords, and 1,000 pieces of bar soap, one of the ingredients in making improvised
explosive devices (IEDs).

The camp, according to military reports, has nine bunkers, five of which are located underground where troops found several food stuffs, including 14 kilos of Quaker Oats, four sacks of rice, cup noodles, and water containers.

They also recovered from the area several pairs of military uniforms, combat boots, five ladies’ sweatshirts with logos of the Bagong Hukbong Bayan (New Peoples’ Army), and other personal belongings owned by the rebels.

Durado said the soldiers, belonging to 57IB, Scout Rangers Company, and 62nd Division Reconnaissance Company of the 6th Infantry Division, started the attack around 6:15 a.m. after they received reports the rebels were massing in troops at Sitio Macalangit in Barangay New Israel in Makilala.

Around 9:30 a.m., the soldiers were able to take the camp after the rebels abandoned the area.

Though the attack had surprised the rebels, there were no reports, however, of casualties from the enemy side, said Durado.

“What we saw were traces of blood in the area, meaning, some of them could have died or were wounded during the attack but were carried by their comrades during their withdrawal,” he explained.

The Army considered the attack one of their major accomplishments this year. “This showed we have already gained the trust of the masses. They were the ones who tipped us of the presence of the NPAs in the area,” said Lt. Col. Bernie Langub, 57IB commander.

The attack came after series of roadside blasts in Magpet and Makilala towns, both in North Cotabato, which hit a number of military vehicles and
wounded several soldiers.

The latest of the rebels’ atrocity was the raid they staged at Luz Village in M’lang, also in North Cotabato, where a militia was killed and four
others, including two civilians, were wounded. (Malu Cadeliña Manar / MindaNews)