Four top officials of the New People’s Army (NPA) operating in the Caraga region were killed during the May 14-19 clashes with government soldiers in the Andap Valley complex in Surigao del Sur.
Capt. Anthony Pueblas, public affairs office chief of the Army’s 4th Infantry Division, said they had good reason to believe that four ranking leaders of the communist insurgents in Caraga were among the 11 rebels killed in five separate armed encounters in the province, a claim that could not be independently verified in the absence of actual body counts.
Pueblas identified the four NPA leaders as Myrna Sularte also known as “Maria Malaya,” front secretary of the North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee (NEMRC); Alvin Luque alias Joaquin Jacinto, the spokesperson of Komisyon Mindanao (KOMMID); Alfie Basa a.k.a. “Momoy,” the vice commanding officer of the Regional Headquarters, NEMRC; and Lorna Gomez, also known as “Momay,” the medical staff of RHQ, NEMRC.
“So hugot atong pagtuo nga apil sila niining mga nangamatay nga rebeldeng NPA tungod sa mga narecover nato nga ebidensya, kaning duha ka laptop nga gipanag-iyahan gayod niining duha ka dagkong lider sa rebeldeng NPA,” Pueblas told a local radio station in Butuan.
He said the clashes started after army soldiers responded to reports about the sighting of a number of NPA guerrillas who were planning to launch an attack on soldiers in the province.
Clashes that started in Lianga, ended in Tago town when soldiers recovered five high-powered rifles, two anti-personnel mines, hand grenades, assorted ammunition, two laptops, medical supplies, personal belongings, communications gadgets, devices and rebel documents with high intelligence value.
Pursuing troops, according to Pueblas, did not recover any enemy bodies due to “rugged terrain and the unpredictable weather.”
Pueblas said the armed encounters also lead to the discovery of an encampment of the rebel group.
“The operating troops overrun the CNT’s hideout that could accommodate more or less 120 individuals,” he said.
Maj. Gen. Franco Nemesio Gacal, 4th ID commander, lauded the soldiers for the successful operations that “led to the crumbling of NEMRC as their top officials and other NPA terrorists are neutralized.”
“The determination and sacrifices of our troops and the bravery and confidence of the locals had paved the way for the restoration of peace. I urged the local communities to continue supporting the government efforts for maintaining peace in the province,” Gacal said in a statement. CLC