By Mike Crismundo
CAMP DATU LIPUS MAKAPANDONG, Awa, New Leyte, Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur – Ground forces of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), supported by attack helicopters, are hot on the heels of fleeing New People’s Army (NPA) rebels, Wednesday, Maigang area, Barangay Kauswagan, Loreto, Agusan del Sur province.
Troops of the 26th Infantry Battallion (26th IB), supported by two MG520 attack helicopters of the Tactical Operations Group (TOG) of the Philippine Air Force’s (PAF) Strike Wing, were pursuing, as of press time, close to 50 NPA terrorists in the mountainous border between Agusan del Sur and Compostela Valley (ComVal).
The rebels were said to be members of Guerilla Front 3 of the CPP-NPA Southern Mindanao Regional Committee, said Maj. Rodolfo S. Cordero, Civil Military Operation (CMO) officer of the Army’s 401st Infantry (Unity) Brigade based here.
“Our pursuing troops are following the blood trail from the enemy’s route of withdrawal,” the 401st CMO officer said.
The massive pursuit operation took place after combat maneuvering troops of the 26th IB engaged the NPAs in an almost 30 minute fierce gunfight in Maigang area in Loreto town at 2 p.m. on Tuesday.
The rebels disengaged from the fire fight after sensing that more reinforcements of combat troops from nearby town were coming, Maj. Cordero said.
“Operating troops of the 26th IB believed that undetermined number of NPAs were either killed or wounded in Maigang gunbattle as several blood stains were seen in the gunbattle area and route of withdrawal,” claimed of the 401st CMO officer, quoting the initial report coming from the field.
There was no casualty on the side of the government.
Troops were able to recovered in the scene of gunbattle one AK47 rifle, with live ammunitions, 3 complete set of improvised explosive devices (IEDs), bomb materials, assorted medicines, personal belongings and subversive documents, he said.
No casualty on the government side in the Maigang gunbttle, he said.
As of press time, pursuit operation is still ongoing.