By Mike U. Crismundo
Nasipit, Agusan del Norte – An Army soldier was killed, while another and an officer were wounded in a fierce gun battle with Communist insurgents at a far-flung area of Kilometer 7, Barangay Camagong, in Nasipit, Agusan del Norte.
A sketchy report received here from operating Army troops said an undetermined numbers of the New People’s Army (NPA) members were believed killed or wounded in the encounter.
The Army’s 23rd Infantry Battallion (23rd IB) is still pursuing the fleeing rebels, who are believed to be members of guerilla-Front Committee 4-A of the CPP-NPA Northeastern Mindanao regional Committee (NEMRC).
The identities of the Army casualties were withheld pending notification of their next of kin.
The officer, said to be a second lieutenant, and soldier were immediately taken to Nasipit District Hospital before they were transferred to a Butuan City hospital for further medical attention.
An initial report from the field said elements of the 23rd IB were conducting combat patrol operation in upper Barangay Camagon when they were engaged by the group of a certain “Commander Baking” of guerilla-Front Committee 4-A at 7:16 a.m. on Sunday.
Troops under the 402nd Infantry (Stingers) Brigade based in Camp Bancasi, Butuan City have already been dispatched to beef up the pursuing troops of the 23rd IB in Camagong area.
Meanwhile, the regional command of the Northeastern Mindanao Police Regional Office 13 (PRO 13) based in Camp Rafael C. Rodriguez, Butuan City also mobilized its regional and provincial mobile forces to help the 23rd IB by conducting blocking positions along the possible escape route of the fleeing NPAs here.
The Nasipit Municipal Police Station (MPS) and Agusan del Norte Police Provincial Office (PPO) also intensified their intelligence monitoring in the area for possible information of wounded rebels admitted in some hospitals in the province.
The regional command also directed all camps/stations in Agusan del Norte, Cabadbaran City and other neighboring areas to be on alert, remain vigilant and intensify proactive measures and their intelligence monitoring.
All police unit commanders were also ordered to conduct strong checkpoints in any strategic areas of their respective areas of responsibility (AORs) while also strengthening their respective headquarters/stations defense systems to prevent any hostile NPA act.