GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 30 March) — Government troops recovered over the weekend a high-powered firearm and assorted ammunition reportedly stashed by New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in the upland villages of Malapatan town, Sarangani province.
Lt. Col. Ronaldo Valdez, commanding officer of the Army’s 73rd Infantry Battalion, said the munitions were unearthed in separate locations in Barangays Sapu Masla and Upper Suyan in Malapatan.
He said their troops initially found on Saturday morning a total of 490 7.62mm or M14 ammunition at a portion of Sitio Mahayag, Barangay Upper Suyan.
The official said it was discovered based on revelations from a former NPA combatant identified as Marcko Simon alias “Tarzan,” who surrendered in the area last Feb. 27.
The returnee was also responsible for the recovery last Feb. 29 of an AK47 and two M16 rifles that were also stashed by the rebels, he said.
“The ammunition was reportedly owned by the NPA’s Guerilla Front Tala (71) and stored in the site by an alias Yoyong last December,” Valdez said in a statement.
On Sunday morning, he said their troops also unearthed a caliber 5.56mm M16 rifle with four magazines and 82 ammunition in Sitio Salyan, Barangay Sapu Masla.
The firearm was located through accounts from another rebel returnee identified as alias “Willie,” he said.
Valdez lauded the former rebels for the recovery of the munitions and helping their unit fulfill its mission to maintain peace and order in the area.
He added that the recovered items could have been intended for the planned atrocities in line with the NPA’s 51st founding anniversary on Sunday, March 29.