by Mike U. Crismundo and Francis T. Wakefield
Butuan City – An New People’s Army (NPA) amazon was killed, while four other rebels were wounded when a gun battle erupted between government security forces and communist insurgents in a far-flung community of Hinimbangan, Kitcharao town, Agusan del Norte province, Second Lt. Ashley Mae Del Rosario, Civil-Military Operations (CMO) Officer of the 29th Infantry (Matatag) Battallion (29th IB) yesterday said.
“The identity of the slain amazon was not immediately known while troops of the 29th IB are still pursuing the fleeing rebels in an effort to rescue their wounded insurgents and bring them to a hospital for medical treatment,” the 29th IB-CMO officer said, in an interview with The Manila Bulletin yesterday.
The body of the amazon was turned over to the Kitcharao Municipal Police Station for proper disposition.
She said operating troops also seized from the slain rebel an AK 47 rifle and a bandolier of live ammunitions.
She said the 15-minutes gun battle started at 4 p.m. Saturday.
Del Rosario said the clash between the undetermined number of NPA, armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), took place when elements of the 29th IB were conducting peace and development effort and clearing operations in Hinimbangan area.
“Our troops engaged the members of Front-Committee 16-A under Commander Oto of the CPP-NPA Northeastern Mindanao Regional Committee in a fierce fire fight but the rebels disengaged after sensing they were out-numbered and out-positioned. They retreated in a southerly direction towards Hinimbangan, dragging along with them their three wounded comrades-in-arms,” claimed the 29th IB CMO officer.
She said a hot pursuit operation was still ongoing in the mountain and forested areas of Hinimbangan of that same town.
Del Rosario said Hinimbangan was the site where the NPA rebels allegedly attacked the community only four days before where 89 families, or 357 individuals, had to flee to the Municipal Gymnasium of Barangay Crossing, Kitcharao town of that same province.