BUTUAN CITY – Two New People’s Army (NPA) rebels were killed, while an undetermined number of their comrades were believed wounded, in an encounter with government forces on Sunday, December 27, in Tinago area, Barangay Baleguian, Jabonga, Agusan del Norte, the military reported on Monday, December 28.
According to a report of 29th Infantry Battalion (29th IB) Lt. Col. Aristotle Antonio, his unit encountered a group of 15 heavily armed rebels after they responded to information provided by civilians about their presence in their area.
The insurgents were said to be staging a celebration on the occasion of the 52nd anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) a day before on December 26.
“The said group was believed to be under “Kumander Eman” of Sandatahang Yunit Pangpropaganda 16-A (SYP16A) of Guerilla Front 16 (GF 16) of the CPP-NPA Northeastern Mindanao Regional Committee (NEMRC),” the 29th IB commander reported.
“The gun battle lasted for almost an hour,” he said.
Antonio reported that 29th IB troops found the bodies of a male and a female NPA fighters in the area after the encounter. They also recovered two AK47 rifles, assorted magazines with live ammunition, one cellphone, foods, medical supplies, personal belongings and subversive documents with high intelligence value.
Jabonga Mayor Napoleon M. Montero said that the local government fully understood that the incident was a result of legitimate military operation conducted by the government forces in their area.
He cited Barangay Baleguian as among the identified conflict-affected areas in the province, and one of the recipients of the Retooled Community Support Program with the objective of ending the local communist armed conflict.
He also said the local government will do its part to support the military and all the involved government agencies and instrumentalities in ending the insurgency problem to finally bring peace and development in their area.
Meanwhile, Col. George L. Banzon, commanding officer of the Army’s 901st Infantry Brigade, said that the encounter was a product of the continuing efforts and proactive measures being implemented by the unit to keep the Communist terrorists from conducting with their atrocities.
“We intensified our monitoring and operations during these holidays to ensure that these communist terrorists will not have the opportunity to unleash violence to highlight CPP’s anniversary which they usually practice in the past years”, the 901stBrigade commander said.