Brig. Gen. Carlos Holganza, commander of the Army’s 1001st Infantry Brigade based in Tuburan, Mawab, Compostela Valley, told MindaNews on Thursday rebels led by an unknown commander harassed the patrol base of the Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) guarding the Globe tower in Barangay Pasian in Monkayo around 8 am.
“Two Cafgus were sniped while fixing their water system,” Holganza said.
Reports from military sources in the area identified the slain paramilitary men as Rolly Mondejar and Renante Capao under the Army’s 72nd Infantry Battalion.
Police Senior Ins. Rodolfo Pascua said 20 fully-armed rebels belonging to the NPA’s Front Committee (FC) 20 led by a certain Commander Lalay swooped down on the 11-man detachment under Sgt. Cesar Acosta and engaged the government troops.
Four Cafgu members had gone to the water systems about 500 meters from the patrol base to fix it when they were picked off by snipers, Holganza said.
The military official believes the rebels destroyed the area’s water pipes “apparently, to lure the Cafgus away.”
Military reports said a seven-man sniping team led by a certain Commander Jason attacked the water system that resulted to the militiamen’s death.
Holganza slammed the NPA’s action as “treacherous”.
He said the communist insurgents are in such desperate situation that they employ deceit for them “to score wins”.
The Army general vowed a no-letup in the military drive against the rebels.
He said the Army under his command will continue providing security in far-flung areas like Pasian, an exit barangay in Compostela Valley bordering Agusan del Sur, and a favorite crossing area of rebels going in and out of Davao and Caraga regions.
The telecommunication facility has seen numerous rebel attacks before. In 2005, Army troops foiled an attempt by rebels to torch the Globe tower, triggering an hour-long fire fight that left militiamen wounded and rebels captured.
The gunmen were subsequently charged and are now in jail
“We will learn our lessons from this (incident) and make adjustments,” Holganza added.
The NPA could not be reached for comment. The group has not also issued a press statement. (Frinston L. Lim/ MindaNews)