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AFP troops deter harassment of communities by NPA units

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By Mike Crismundo

CAMP BANCASI, Butuan City – Combat troops of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will continue to protect and defend village communities against harassment perpetrated by the New People’s Army (NPA) terrorists, disclosed regional Army spokesman on Saturday.

Tanks of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (MArk Balmores|Manila Bulletin)

FILE PHOTO: Tanks of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (Mark Balmores/MANILA BULLETIN)

In a statement to The Manila Bulletin, Capt. Jerry S. Lamosao, regional Army spokesman of 10th Infantry (Agila) Division (10th ID), said the NPA terrorists attempted to harass some far-flung village communities in Compostela Valley (ComVal) and Davao Oriental provinces but were prevented by the combat maneuvering battalions of the 10th ID.

Combat maneuvering troops of the 71st Infantry Battallion (71st IB) recovered 2 units (Anti-Tank) of Improvised Explosive Devices (IED), weighing 30 kilos each, believed to be emplaced by members of SECOM 27 and SRC 2 of the CPP-NPA Southern Mindanao Regional Committee (SMRC) at the vicinity of Sitio Lower Mahayag, Barangay Nuevo Iloco, Mawab, ComVal province at 8:20 a.m. on Wednesday(Dec, 27), the 10th ID spokesperson claimed.

Prior to the recovery of the IEDs, 71st IB commander Lt. Col. Esteveyn E. Ducusin received information from a concerned citizen that IEDs were hidden at the rice field in the vicinity of Lower Mahayag of that same town of Mawab which prompted the battalion commander to dispatch his combat troops to verify that led to the discovery of the IEDs, Capt. Lamosao said.

At 1:50 p.m. on Thursday (Dec. 28), elements of 66th IB were deployed to respond and verify the information from the local residents that there were armed men believed to be NPA terrorists roaming around in their community, prompting the security patrol to proceed to the reported area. They encountered an undetermined number of NPA terrorists for 20 minutes at vicinity Sitio Mabugnao, Barangay Las Arenas, Pantukan town of the same province, the regional Army spokesman said.

Sensing reinforcements from nearby areas were coming, the enemy force withdrew towards the southwest direction of Sitio Mabugnao. There was no casualty on the government side.

As the situation progressed, at 4: 35 p.m. on the same day (Dec. 28), another section of 28th IB encountered some 10 NPA terrorists at the vicinity Sitio Bato-bato, Barangay Tubaon, Tarragona, Davao Oriental, he said.

The firefight lasted for 15 minutes, then the enemy withdrew towards the east direction of Bato-bato. The gun battle slightly resulted in the wounding of one government soldier. The wounded was immediately treated and is now in stable condition, Capt. Lamosao said.

At about 7:45 p.m. of the same day (Dec. 28), a team of 28th IB on board a Military Utility Elf, while traversing Tarragona-Barangay Tuboan road to fetch the slightly wounded soldier was land mined at vicinity Sitio Guibaan, Barangay Tubaon of that same town. The Elf Truck was slightly damaged at the rear portion, he said.

At around 7:50 p.m. on the same day, one Platoon of 67th IB encountered another 10 NPA terrorists believed to be members of Pulang Bagani Command 8 (PBC 8), SRC 1 of the CPP-NPA-SMRC while reinforcing the beleaguered troops of 28th IB onboard the Elf truck that was land mined, he said.

The firefight lasted for about 10 minutes. At about 10:45 p.m. on the same day, another one Platoon of 67th IB cleared the road from Maitum area of that same province to the encounter site and linked-up with the Scout Platoon at location of the land mined Elf truck, he said.

“All of the troops are still in the area to prevent or thwart any hostile plan of the enemy to go to the center of the community,” Capt. Lamosao added.

Meanwhile, Maj. Gen. Noel S. Clement, commanding general of the 10th “Agila” Division condemned anew the harassments by the NPAs.

“Despite the Yuletide season, they (NPAs) continue to harass communities which prompted our forces to conduct security operations. Our units responded to the information and call for help of local populace which led to the encounter. It is the responsibility of our soldiers to protect our citizens and secure the communities from armed threats,” said the 10th ID chief, in the same statement sent to The Manila Bulletin.

“While ceasefire resumes at 6:00 p.m. of December 30, 2017 until 6:00 p.m. of January 2, 2018, 10th ID will remain faithful to the government’s Yuletide ceasefire and will maintain on active defense and our various units and troops on the ground will remain ready to respond to any violent threat that will be perpetrated by the NPA against our people and vulnerable communities.” Maj. Gen. Clement added.

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