By Franco G. Regala and Francis T. Wakefield
Camp Aquino, Tarlac City — Government troops overran an encampment of the New People’s Army (NPA) in Abra last Thursday afternoon as sporadic encounters broke out in the province and nearby Kalinga.
Lieutenant Colonel Isagani G. Nato, Northern Luzon Command (NOLCOM) spokesperson, said the NPA encampment fell after a 40-minute gun battle that resulted in the wounding of an army trooper and undetermined number of casualties on the side of the NPA.
The clash broke out at 12:45 p.m. Thursday as elements of Alpha Company of the army’s 24th Infantry Battalion (24IB) and the Joint Task Force (JTF) “Kaugnay” of the army’s 7th Infantry Division (7ID) chanced upon a platoon-sized group of NPA fighters in Barangay Gapang, Pilar, Abra.
Nato said the wounding of an Army personnel sustained superficial splinter wounds in the face, but the clash ended in the retreat of the NPA fighters.
Seized at the encampment after the battle were 14 tents, assorted gadgets, food stuffs, subversive documents, and other combat and personal belongings.
Earlier that day, another group of NPA terrorists fired at the Allaguia Patrol Base in Pinukpuk, Kalinga.
The burst of fire at 6:45 a.m., prompted army troopers to retaliate, firing back at the position of the terrorists 300 meters northwest of Echo Company of the army’s 77th Infantry Battalion (77IB). Nato said the NPA fighters withdrew.
“The successful conduct of Development Support Operations (DSO) was a result of the local community’s participation to rid their localities of these lawless elements,’’ he said.
“NOLCOM forces will continue to pursue the NPA terrorist group and other threat groups to keep the safety of the people and ensure the security of the area against any threat within its Area of Responsibility,” he added.