CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews / 19 Dec) – Taking advantage of the bad weather, New People’s Army rebels sneaked into a military patrol base, taking captive 2 soldiers and 12 militiamen in barangay New Tubigon, Sibagat town, Agusan del Sur Wednesday.
Sandara Amihan, spokesperson of the NPA Northeastern Mindanao region, said the NPA raid on the military detachment, located some 10 kilometers from Sibagat town, was carried out “without a single shot fired.”
“Fourteen soldiers and militiamen have been captured and are being treated as POWs (prisoners of war). We will treat them accordingly,” Amihan told RMN-DXBC local radio in Butuan City.
The attack came a day after President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police to stop accepting NPA rebels who wish to surrender and instead “to kill them all.”
Duterte also ordered the “hamletting” of lumad villages for their protection after expressing frustration with the peace talks with the National Democratic Front.
The order came after NPA rebels attacked the police station in Magallanes town in Sorsogon last Monday, wounding a policeman and a civilian.
AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Benjamin Madrigal said the weather at the New Tubigon military detachment was rainy, and thus taken advantage by the rebels.
“Most of the troops were in their bunkers and did not notice the rebels because of the noise of the rain,” Madrigal told MindaNews by phone.
A PNP report identified the captured soldiers as Corporal Eric Manangan and PFC Darlino Carino, of the 3rd Special Forces Battalion.
The names of the militiamen are not available as of press time.
The same report said the rebels took 17 M16 rifles, 4 M14 rifles, 2 M4 rifles, and an M60 machine gun.
The rebels also took a Harris radio and hundreds of rounds of ammunition.
Maj. Gen. Ronnie Villanueva, commanding general of the 4th Infantry Division based in this city, said a board of inquiry will leave for Sibagat today to investigate the incident.
“There are so many questions that are left unanswered. The team will find what really happened,” Villanueva said.
Special Forces teams and soldiers from nearby battalions are now pursuing the rebels who have fled to the hinterlands with their captives. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)