GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/07 March) – Government troops overran over the weekend a key position previously controlled by New People’ Army (NPA) rebels in the mountains of Columbio town in Sultan Kudarat province following a series of operations in the area.
Lt. Col. Joel Alejandro Nacnac, commander of the Army’s 27th Infantry Battalion, said they took control of the rebel’s temporary base in Sitio Lamanggo, Barangay Sinapulan in Columbio on Sunday afternoon after an encounter with a group of NPA rebels who were reportedly led
by a certain Kumander Macmac.
He said the rebels were forced to abandon the area following a 45-minute firefight with their troops.
Nacnac said they recovered from the scene a mobile phone with three SIM cards allegedly owned by Kumander Macmac.
Also found were a handheld radio, medical kit, several backpacks that contained some clothing and underground documents, food supplies and several grenades, he said.
“It’s now under our full control and we’ve launched clearing operations to further secure the area, especially the neighboring communities,” Nacnac said in a radio interview.
The Army official clarified that the area, which was located near the boundary of Columbio and Magsaysay town in Davao del Sur, was not considered an NPA camp but only a temporary base of the rebels.
He claimed that the NPA has no existing enclave in the mountains of Columbio and rebel units in the area have supposedly long shifted to mobile type of operations.
Nacnac said their troops located the NPA position while pursuing a group of rebels whom they encountered last Wednesday and Thursday near the area.
He said the same group, who were also led by Kumander Bunsok and Kumander Ramboy, supposedly burned a house that was earlier occupied by their troops in Sitio Teruray in Barangay Telafas, Columbio.
Nacnac said their troops did not suffer any casualty as a result of their ongoing operations.
He said they are currently verifying initial reports that a number of NPA rebels were seriously wounded during the clashes.
“According to our informants, a number of NPA cadres are still missing as of this time. We’re checking whether they were among those who were reported as wounded or were just hiding near the area,” he added. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)