BUTUAN CITY – Two communist-New People’s Army (NPA) terrorists were killed while undetermined number of other rebels were believed critically wounded during an encounter Thursday morning with the government security forces in the hinterland of Haruhay area, Barangay Lunotan, Gingoog City, Misamis Oriental province.
“As of this time, our operating troops are still conducting wide pursuit operations against the fleeing terrorists, following the blood stains of the rebels escape route of withdrawal in Haruhay area,” said Pubic Affairs Office (PAO) chief of the Army’s 4th Infantry (Diamond) Division (4th ID) Maj. Francisco P. Garello, Jr., in a phone interview with The Manila Bulletin on Thursday afternoon.
“Initially, two high powered automatic rifles and live ammunitions were seized from the slain communist terrorists,” the 4th ID PAO chief said.
Maj. Garello said peace and development troops of the Army’s 58th Infantry (Dimalulupig) Battalion (58th IB) were conducting combat operations acting upon reports from concerned villagers when they encountered undetermined number of communist terrorists at 6:30 in the morning.
The encountered NPAs were the combined elements of Platoon Falcon and SR SDG Eagles all of Sub-Regional Committee 1 (SRC1) of the CPP-NPA North Central Mindanao Regional Committee (NCMRC), he said.
The firefight lasted for about 20 minutes which resulted in the death of two NPA members, one male and one female, and their identities were not immediately known,” the 4th ID PAO chief said.
Elements of 58th IB seized two M16 Armalite rifles, one improvised explosive device (IED), assorted live bullets, cellphones and other CPP-NPA materials including personal belongings, Maj. Garello added.
Meanwhile, 58th IB commanding officer Lt. Col. Ricky L. Canatoy, said ‘another lives were lost just because of failed ideology of the communist terrorists.’
“I am reiterating our call to the remaining remnants of the Communist Terrorists Group (CTG) who are still hiding in the hinterlands to lay down their arms and return to the folds of the law while you have the opportunity. Otherwise, our troops will not hesitate to use force against you and you will end up with the same fate as the two casualties,” said the 58th IB commander, in a statement sent to The Manila Bulletin on Thursday.
“This encounter should serve as an eye-opener to the remaining members of the NPA to voluntarily surrender and avail the different programs of the government that are enough for them to start a new life,” he said.
“We extend our heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families,” said Lt. Col. Canatoy, adding ‘the government troops will coordinate with the City DRRMO of Gingoog City for the proper disposition of the cadavers and exhaust all means to inform their respective families.”