165 families flee fighting in North Cotabato

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews / 10 May) – At least 165 families were displaced after three days of fighting between government troops and New People’s Army (NPA) guerrillas in Makilala, North Cotabato, reports from the municipal social welfare office said.

Residents of Sitio Garing, Barangay Luayon in Makilala, North Cotabato the morning after the clash from midnight until dawn Monday (22 January 2018). Three NPAs and a CAFGU member died in the firefight. MindaNews file photo by FERDINANDH CABRERA

Lina Canedo, Makilala social welfare officer, said 65 families fled at the start of hostilities on Tuesday in Barangay Luayon.

The additional families came from remote sitios and puroks who decided to leave their homes when the fighting intensified, Canedo said.

On Tuesday, the 39th Infantry Battalion launched an operation after receiving reports the rebels were again sighted in Sitio Kapatagan, Barangay Luayon.

Lt. Col. Rhojun Rosales, 39th IB commander said they clashed with at least 30 rebels in Sitio Kapatagan led by Commander Bordjack, Bricks, and a certain Ka Libra, all of the NPA Front 72.

Ka Libra and his group came from Magsaysay town in Davao del Sur, the reports added.

Rosales said two of his men were wounded in the attack and were rushed to Davao City for treatment.

He said the rebels were massing in Luayon and other villages in Makilala for their recruitment and extortion activities for the upcoming barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections.

Barangay officials of Luayon earlier declared their place as a “zone of peace” after the residents decided in an assembly to stop supporting the NPA. (Malu Cadelina Manar/MindaNews)