CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews / 12 Dec) – Government forces engaged communist rebels in a 30-minute firefight on top of a dormant volcano in Misamis Oriental late Tuesday, killing one New People’s Army guerilla.
Lt. Col. Roy Derilo, commander of the Army’s 58th Infantry Battalion, said several firearms were seized during the encounter on top of the 1,245-meter high Mount Obulan in Barangay Banglay, Lagonglong town.
He said the body of the dead rebel was turned over to local government officials of Lagonglong for proper burial.
One of the soldiers was slightly wounded when a bullet grazed his right arm, Derilo said.
He said the soldiers captured the capture of two M653 rifles, one M16 rifle, one AK47 rifle; one Garand rifle, one caliber .22 rifle, and assorted ammunition.
“Our soldiers were tracking these rebels ever since they had a brief encounter three days ago,” Derilo said.
On Tuesday afternoon, Derilo said a 10-man Army team managed to sneak near the camp where the rebels had ran to in Mount Obulan, a dormant volcano.
Derilo said the Army team leader told him they called out to the rebels to lay down their firearms since they were surrounded.
He said the rebels fired at the soldiers instead of surrendering.
“My team leader told me he saw the rebels jump into a nearby ravine while firing their firearms,” Derilo said.
Lt. Col. Ezra Balagtey, spokesperson of the Armed Forces’ Eastern Mindanao Command, said a total of 395 firearms of various calibers were captured from the rebels since the start of the year in EastMinCom’s area of responsibility. Another 750 firearms were surrendered by rebels during the same period, he added.
Maj. Gen. Franco Nemesio Gacal, chief of the 4th Infantry Division, said Army forces have sharply reduced the strength of the NPA with 5,000 of its fighters and supporters surrendering in the same period. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)