3 civilians among 17 killed in NPA-CAFGU clash in Malaybalay

Police identified the victims as Helen Dumogan and her daughter Cathy, who were reported to be inside the patrol base of the Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) in Barangay Zamboanguita during the attack at around 12:30p.m.

 

Dumogan visited her husband Winnie, one of four CAFGU personnel killed along with 11 rebels in the almost two-hour battle. 

Madi Hamsali, assistant detachment commander who was one of three other wounded government troops, said the attack was perpetrated by a hundred rebels who arrived in two Izusu Forward trucks.

Hamsali, who spoke while being treated at the Bethel Baptist Hospital, said they were not able to call for backup right away because the radio man was among those killed. 

He said there were at least 15 of his colleagues in the base at the time of the attack.

One of the trucks used by the rebels was traced to a still unnamed barangay kagawad (village councilman) who was found dead near his house, radio station DXDB reported this afternoon. 

Lt Col. Cresente Maligmat, commanding officer of the 29th Infantry Battalion, told DXDB that “hot pursuit operations” are ongoing as of Wednesday morning to track down the rebels believed to be members of the NPA Front Committee 89. 

Maligmat said government troops did not arrive immediately because they also had to clear their way. 

He said eight of the rebel casualties were found in the patrol base while three others were found in a nearby village on their way out to withdraw.

He said the Army sent two companies to the area for the pursuit operations.

An official of the Malaybalay City Social Welfare and Development Office told MindaNews they have sent relief goods to the Upper Pulangui area but their team is yet to return from the visit as of press time to give the number of evacuees. 

Meanwhile, the Department of Education has ordered teachers working in the eight barangays in the district to refrain from traveling in the area to wrap up the school year while hostilities are ongoing, an elementary school principal told this reporter. 

Zamboanguita village was also where suspected rebels burned heavy equipment of a construction firm in 2006, sparking heavy fighting in the neighboring villages of St. Peter that displaced thousands of residents. 

In early January this year, the city government of Malaybalay bankrolled the training and salaries of 80 personnel for a local paramilitary unit to work exclusively in the city under the Special Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit Active Auxiliary (SCAA).

The city government of Malaybalay signed a memorandum of agreement with the Army's 403rd Infantry Brigade for the training and operation of 80 personnel to be dispatched to two detachments: in the city's Upper Pulangui area and in Pat-pat village against communist rebels.

Later in January, suspected NPA rebels attacked the city’s jail, carting out weapons.

Two weeks ago, Civilian Volunteer Organization members found claymore minds planted by suspected NPA rebels in a bridge near Brgy. St. Peter.

The attack came after the 45-day training of the CAFGUs and after they were installed in Upper Pulangui. 

City officials told reporters the SCAA was meant to help maintain peace and order in the city as a “blocking force”. (Walter I. Balane / MindaNews)

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