BUTUAN CITY (PNA) – A New People’s Army (NPA) rebel was killed, while several firearms and other materials were recovered as the military, responding to information provided by indigenous peoples (IP) communities, engaged the Communist group in a one-hour encounter in a remote area in Sitio Paradise, Barangay Magsaysay in Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur on Friday, December 18.
Third Special Forces Battalion (3SFBn) Civil Military Operation Officer First Lt. Krisjuper Andreo J. Punsalan said on Sunday their troops responded to reports made by IP communities that they were facing threats with the presence of more than 30 armed NPA rebels, who were planning to conduct extortion activities at the height of tropical depression Vicky.
“Upon receiving the report, our troops, despite the rescue operations they are conducting while in the midst of TD Vicky, immediately responded to the distress call of the IPs and engaged the NPA rebels,” Punsalan said.
After an hour of intense fighting, the rebels retreated to different directions, leaving behind a dead comrade, and the recovery of five high-powered firearms consisting of four M16 caliber rifles and one AK-47 rifle.
The Army troopers also recovered one anti-personnel land mine, nine rounds 40mm M203 grenade launcher ammunition, 50 rounds 7.62mm M60 ammunition, two sets of commercial radios, 15 backpacks and personal belongings, medical supplies and equipment, three keypad cellular phones, one cellphone, and a 20-meter electrical wire.
“We believe that the NPA rebels were already in the area for days as we discovered a 200-square meter hideout that can accommodate more or less 30 persons with 15 makeshift tents and kitchen paraphernalia,” Punsalan said.
The NPA rebels were led by a certain Rizaldy Sumonod, alias Mansoy, of the Sub-Regional Sentro De Grabidad (SRSDG) Southland of Northeastern Mindanao Regional Committee (NEMRC) of the NPA, he added.
Authorities were still verifying the identity of the NPA rebel killed during the encounter, Punsalan said.