13 NPA rebels, 5 others killed in Agusan Sur

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

DAVAO CITY (Updated) -- Thirteen New People's Army (NPA) guerillas, four Manobo guards and an Army soldier were killed while another was wounded in a series of clashes in Prosperidad town in Agusan del Sur on Tuesday.

This developed after some 70 heavily armed NPA rebels in fatigue uniforms attacked the house of miner Datu Calpito Egua, a Manobo and a former NPA member, in Barangay Sta. Irene in Prosperidad.

Egua, known as Datu Calpit, operates a gold processing plant in the area. He was also known as an anti-insurgency advocate. He was reportedly wounded in the attack.

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Philippine Army's 4th Infantry Division spokesperson Captain Christian Uy, in a phone interview, said the rebels' casualties were based on body count, adding that those killed were left by their comrades.

"There were also reports that the fleeing rebels carried some of their comrades who were killed during the clash while some were wounded," Uy said, adding the first encounter took place in Barangay Sta. Irene around 5:30 a.m., killing Egua's four security escorts.

Uy said the firefight lasted for about two hours. The troops recovered nine high-powered firearms and an M203 grenade launcher during its clearing operation. He also said no civilians were reportedly hurt in the incident.

Uy said troops belonging to the Army's 1st Division Reconnaissance Company under the 401st Infantry Brigade arrived in the area for reinforcement and encountered the rebels around 6:30 a.m. in Barangay Awas where a soldier was killed and another was wounded.

"After the firefight, the rebels withdrew, while the troops together with the tribal warriors, recovered 12 cadavers of rebels and seven high powered firearms (three M16 and four AK47 rifles) at the encounter site," Uy said.

He added that the troops belonging to the 3rd Infantry Battalion also encountered a rebel unit in Barangay Hamogaway in Bayugan, Agusan del Sur. One NPA rebel was killed.

The troops then recovered an M203 grenade launcher, he said.

"This was followed shortly by another encounter between the troops of the 29th Infantry Battalion and rebels in Barangay San Isidro in Kitcharao town. Sa ngayon, hindi pa namin masasabi kung ilan talaga lahat ang casualties," Uy said.

Another clash also took place about 10 a.m. along national highway in Barangay Panaytay, Prosperidad between the NPA rebels who have set up a checkpoint and personnel of the PNP's Special Action Force (SAF).

"According to information, the encounter stemmed from tribesmen's refusal to allow the rebels to seek recruits in their community. As of now, our security forces with the members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) are still conducting its clearing operation and investigation in the area," Uy said.

Uy said based in the documents taken from rebels killed in the encounter, the attackers were members of several NPA fronts operating in Caraga and Northern Mindanao regions.

Eastern Mindanao Command public information officer Captain Alberto Caber, said such attack against the Lumad community was a clear "act of terror" against civilian communities; a violation of CARHRIHL, Human Rights and the Rule of Law. (Sun.Star Davao/Sunnex)

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