13 NPA rebels, 2 lumads die in Agusan Sur attack-A A +A
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
SUSPECTED New People’s Army (NPA) rebels attacked the house of a Manobo chieftain in Prosperidad town, Agusan del Sur Tuesday morning but his followers fought back, killing 13 of the attackers, the military said.
Major Christian Uy, public information officer of the Army’s 4th Infantry Division, said two Manobo fighters also died in the two-hour gun battle in Barangay Sta. Irene in Prosperidad.
Uy said the Manobo chieftain identified as Calpito Egua or Datu Calpit was wounded.
He said responding soldiers caught up with the retreating rebels, killing one of them in Barangay Hamogaway, Bayugan City.
“The rebels left behind 13 bodies and these were tallied by body count. This is a major defeat for them,” Uy said.
The official said four M16 rifles, including an M203 grenade launcher and four AK47 rifles were recovered from the slain rebels.
A photo circulating on Facebook showed a dead rebel lying under a truck loaded with logs at the garage of Datu Calpit.
Uy said Datu Calpit is a holder of a Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title and operates a small-scale mining operation in the area.
“The NPA rebels tried to extort money from the chieftain but he refused to pay up. So they attacked him,” he said.
Uy added the NPAs wanted to recruit people from the area and targeted Datu Calpit who is a known leader who wants to eradicate the NPA rebels in the area.
On-site information obtained by MindaNews revealed the brother of Datu Calpit and three of his security personnel, two of whom were relatives, were also killed in the attack.
According to reports, around a hundred rebels were onboard a truck when the attack happened.
The insurgents blocked both sides of the highway where the house is located to prevent civilians and motorists from passing by the area, Uy added.
The attackers used a pick-up truck to ram the gate of Egua’s compound, but left behind the vehicle during their retreat.
The rebels withdrew onboard another vehicle, although some fled on foot toward different directions, people who saw the incident said.
Some of the residents said the rebels probably sustained more casualties, as they were carrying along many of their comrades who suffered wounds when they retreated.
Based on the documents retrieved from the slain rebels, they belonged to the Regional Sentro Degravidad (RSDG), which comprises NPA guerrillas of fronts 8, 19, and 21.
Another clash between four soldiers from the 29th Infantry Battalion and 10 NPA rebels occurred around 7:30 a.m. in Zapanta Valley in Kicharao town in Agusan del Norte.
At 10:30 a.m. of the same day, the Scout Ranger unit had a skirmish with five suspected members of the NPA which didn’t result to fatalities.
"The NPAs have used all of their forces in Surigao and Agusan areas to conduct the attacks. This is a proof that their armed group is diminishing in numbers," Major General Ricardo Visaya, 4ID commander, said in a statement.
Uy said the remains of the NPA rebels were turned over to the local police of Sta. Irene.
NPA offensives were observed to have increased recently.
On July 10, NPA rebels attacked the police station of Alegria town in Surigao del Norte and carted away a number of firearms. Two rebels died in the attack.
The NPA also admitted having taken captive four police personnel who were intercepted by a rebel blocking force.
On July 2, rebels ambushed Mayor Mario Okinlay of Impasugong, Bukidnon on his way home from a visit to a remote barangay.
In a statement Tuesday, the NPA Comval North Davao South Agusan Sub-regional command said they staged two separate ambushes against the 25th IB on Monday evening in Laak, Compostela Valley.
The rebel group claimed that five soldiers died in the attack in Barangay Mabuhay, while the ambush in Barangay Andap destroyed two military vehicles. (With reports from Froilan Gallardo, Alyssa Clenuar)
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on July 16, 2014.