Army, NPA clash in Zamboanga del Sur; 1 rebel slain

Published September 21, 2020, 8:37 PM

by Martin Sadongdong

A suspected combatant of the New People’s Army (NPA) was killed in an encounter with government troops in a mountainous village in Dumingag, Zamboanga del Sur on Monday.

Lt. Col. Jo-ar Herrera, commander of the 53rd Infantry Battalion (53IB), identified the slain communist guerrilla as Bernie Nunez alias “Gogo,” of the Main Regional Guerrilla Unit (MRGU) of the Western Mindanao Regional Party Committee (WMRPC).

Elements of the 53IB were conducting focused military operations in Barangay Marangan when they chanced upon the group of Nunez around 10:30 a.m., Herrera said.

A firefight ensued between the military and the suspects which eventually led in the death of Nunez.

The other communist guerrillas, however, escaped and left behind their dead comrade, two M16 rifles, an M203 grenade launcher, and an AK47 assault rifle.

Herrera said the operation was part of their counter-insurgency operation plan with the Dumingag town dubbed as Oplan “Amuma.”

He said it was launched in August of this year to address the insurgency and terrorism problems in the municipality which is treated by the communist groups as “one of their safe havens.”

Maj. Gen. Gene Ponio, commander of 1st Infantry Division (1ID), urged communist rebels to surrender and avail themselves of the government programs to change their lives.

“There is no future in the NPA organization, you could either be killed or live a life always running or evading the government forces,”Ponio said.

“Your government is sincere in its programs and we will assure that your surrender will make you progressive or productive citizen,” he added.

Meanwhile, Ponio said reinforcement troops were deployed to pursue the withdrawing NPA rebels.