By Mike Crismundo
CAMP BANCASI, Butuan City – Combat maneuvering troops of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) overran a Communist New People’s Army Terrorists (CNTs) encampment in Cogon-cogon area, Barangay Tagmamarkay, Tubay, Agusan del Norte, military official reported Tuesday.
Capt. Al Anthony B. Pueblas, Civil Military Operation (CMO) officer of the Army’s 402nd Infantry (Stingers) Brigade told The Manila Bulletin that a gun battle erupted before the combat maneuvering troops of the 29th Infantry Battalion (29th IB) seized the CNTs encampment.
The seized camp, which can accommodate 60 to 70 persons has some make-shift huts and kitchens and listening posts believed to belong to SPP 16-A of Guerilla Front Committee 16 of the CPP-NPA Northeastern Mindanao Regional Committee (NEMRC).
Initially operating troops of the 29th IB seized inside the camp some bomb materials including 100 meters trip wire, improvised explosive devices, one AK 47 Rifle loaded with 30 rounds of live ammunition, backpacks and personal belongings.
“The discovery of the camp started when patrolling troops of the 29th IB responded to the reports provided by the highland villagers on Thursday of CNTs presence extorting money and foods in their locality,” Pueblas claimed.
Responding troops arrived in reported Cogon-cogon area at 2:20 p.m. on Thursday and a heavy firefight immediately ensued which lasted for almost 30 minutes, the 402nd Brigade CMO officer further claimed.
“Our operating troops believe that undetermined number of CNTs were killed or wounded as blood stains were seen inside the camp and along the rebels escape route of withdrawal,” he said.
Pueblas said heavy blood stains were seen in the captured CNTs camp indicating the enemy’s large casualties hence additional combat troops were sent to pursue the running CNTs,” Pueblas said.
“Our field troops are still hoping that they can rescue the wounded soldiers for possible evacuation and immediate medical attention to the hospital,” he said.
No casualty or loss was incurred by the government forces during the capture of the said CNTs encampment, he said.
Meanwhile, Brig. Gen. Franco Nemesio M. Gacal, commanding general of the 402nd “Stingers” Brigade. lauded the operating troops of the 29th IB for the successful conduct of their operation that led to the capture of the NPA camp.
“The successful combat operation was also a result of the local community’s support to get rid of lawless elements from their community,” Gacal said.
“Our operations against the NPA terrorists will be relentless. We will pursue them right at the heart of their guerrilla bases. The communities have already voiced out against the continued presence of the NPA terrorists as they only brought misery and suffering in their locality,” he added.