By Mike Crismundo
CAMP BANCASI, Butuan City – The Northeastern and Northern Mindanao Fourth Infantry (Diamond) Division (4th ID) on Saturday ordered a hot pursuit operation against fleeing Communist-New People’s Army (NPA) terrorists in Green Valley area, Barangay Dalwangan, Malaybalay City, Bukidnon province.
Capt. Regie H. Go, Public Affairs Office (PAO) officer of the 4th ID also said Brig. Gen. Franco Nemesio M. Gacal, commanding general of the 4th ID, also ordered Col. Edgardo Y. De Leon, commanding officer of the 403rd Infantry (Peacemaker) Brigade based in Bukidnon province, to secure the villagers who have been continuously given security assistance by First Special Forces Battallion’s Community Support Program (1stSFBn-CSP) in Malaybalay City and neighboring areas.
The area command of the 4th ID issued the directive after troops of the 1st SFBn encountered Thursday evening an undetermined number of heavily armed NPA terrorists in the Green Valley area, where four communist insurgents and two government troopers were killed while an undetermined number of other rebels were believed wounded, Capt. Go. said.
One Army soldier of the 1st SFBn was also wounded in that gun battle, he said.
Combat maneuvering troops of the 1st SFBn also seized from the slain rebels 2 M16 Armalite rifles; 2 unexploded anti-personnel mines; 200 meter wires, ammunition, magazines for M16 rifle, bomb-making materials and personal belongings of NPA, the 4th ID PAO officer said.
The identity of the slain rebels was not immediately known.
Upon request of the villagers, Go said government troops conducted a community support program (CSP) in the Green Valley area when they were engaged by members of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-NPA North-Central Mindanao Regional Committee.
“Villagers there also requested to set-up Patrol Base in the said community to assist and secure them due to the presence of the NPA terrorists that bothered their community and forced them to give money and goods from the poultry farm,” claimed the 4th ID PAO officer, in a phone interview on Saturday.
Meanwhile, De Leon commended the villagers for reporting the location of anti-personnel mines planted in Green Valley area.
“Indeed, our troops’ timely recovery of the terrorists’ anti-personnel mines saved the lives of the public. The continuing use of anti-personnel landmines just proved their act of terrorism which rightfully supports the declaration of EU and US for the declaration of CPP-NPA as among the list of terrorist groups,” said the 403rd Brigade commander, in a statement sent to The Manila Bulletin.