NPA rebels harass CAFGU outpost in NorthCot

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews / 31 May) – Suspected communist guerillas harassed on Tuesday night a paramilitary outpost in a village in the municipality of President Roxas, North Cotabato.

It was the fourth incident since martial law was declared in Mindanao, a military official said.

Lt. Col. Harold Argamosa, commander of the Army’s 39th Infantry Battalion, said the New Peoples’ Army (NPA) strafed the detachment of the Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) in Barangay Labu-o around 10:15 p.m.

The rebels used high-powered guns, including M203 and M16 rifles, based from the empty shells the police recovered in the area, according to Chief Insp. Romy Castanares, municipal police chief.

He added that before the attack, the suspects detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) planted just few a meters away from the CAFGU outpost.

The CAFGUs reportedly suffered no casualties and the rebels failed to snatch the former’s guns. However, the explosion and the brief exchange of gun fire sent residents to panic, according to Castanares.

“We call this nuisance harassment. They were firing their guns up in the air, from afar,” said Argamosa.

The attackers, according to Argamosa, were few in numbers and were not regular troops of the NPA but belong to what they called “militia.”

The military official said the attack, which was the fourth in North Cotabato province since martial law was declared on May 23, was part of the NPA’s retaliation of the offensives the 39IB and 72IB launched against them in Barangay Salat, President Roxas.

“The NPAs were surprised of the attack. They did not expect we will conduct military offensives against them. They suffered heavy casualties. There were deaths and injuries on their side,” said Argamosa.

After the military offensives on May 26, the NPAs launched two roadside bombings in Kidapawan City that wounded four policemen, and shot two handlers of bomb sniffing dogs who were manning the national highway in the city. (Malu Cadelina Manar / MindaNews)