BUTUAN CITY – An undetermined number of New People’s Army (NPA) terrorists were believed killed or wounded when a gun battle erupted between elements of the 29thInfantry Battalion (29th IB) and Communist insurgents in Cabadiangan area, Barangay Jaliobong, Kitcharao, Agusan del Norte, the military reported Monday.
In an interview with The Manila Bulletin on Monday, 29th IB Civil Military Operations (CMO) officer First Lt. Edmar C. Colagong, said troopers of the 29th IB were still pursuing the fleeing terrorists after the gun battle, which transpired on Saturday.
“Our field troops are still pursuing the rebels, and are following the bloodstains in their route of withdrawal,” he said.
Troops seized an M203 grenade launcher, a broken upper receiver, a bolt carrier for an M16 Armalite rifle, an anti-personnel mine, three radios, four blasting caps, a rifle grenade, and a detonating switch, among others.
“The firefight between the government troops and the terrorist group lasted for more than 10 minutes, before the Communist terrorists withdrew in different directions,” he said.
“The enemy, being in a disadvantageous position, fled towards the north of Cabadiangan area,” Colagong added.
“We knew very well that these NPAs have slowly been decreasing in strength and number, and we will continue our intensified operations until they are decimated,” said 29th IB Commanding Officer Lt. Col. Aristotle F. Antonio.
“We know that the time is already nigh for all of our wayward brothers, and so, our clarion call for all of you remains the same: Surrender now before it becomes too late,” the 29th IB commander pointed out.
“My troops and I will continue to welcome those of you who will choose to surrender. So, come down now and start a new bright year with your family. They are all waiting for you to come back to the fold. Don’t worry, we will help you,” Antonio assured.
The 29th IB, under the 901st Infantry Brigade, Fourth Infantry Division launched a series of nonstop operations against the NPA in some parts of Northeastern Mindanao.
It can be recalled that last December 27, an initial firefight with terrorists from the Sandatahang Yunit Pangpropaganda SYP 16-A, Guerilla Front 16 (GF16) of the CPP (Communist Party of the Philippines)-NPA Northeastern Mindanao Regional Committee (NEMRC), under certain “Kummander Eman”, transpired in the area of Sitio Tinago, Barangay Baleguian, Jabonga town of that same province. The firefight resulted in the death of two NPA members and seizure of two AK47 rifles and other valuable belongings and documents.
A similar encounter happened in the same area on December 29, 2020, where troops recovered assorted magazines and various types of serviceable ammunition for R4, K3, and M203, Colagong said.