Soldiers belonging to the Army’s 3rd Special Forces Battalion seized a suspected camp of the New People’s Army (NPA) on Tuesday morning following an eight-minute gunfight with communist rebels in Prosperidad town in Agusan del Sur, the military said on Thursday.
No one was reported hurt in the government side, said Lt. Col Joey Baybayan, 3SFBn commander.
He said his men were conducting clearing operations in the mountain village of Mabuhay when they clashed with the communist guerrillas led by a certain Rizaldo Sumunod, alias Ka Mansoy, leading to the takeover of the NPA camp.
The rebel hideout could hold up to 20 fighters, Baybayan said.
“This operation is part of our relentless effort to end the local communist armed conflict in our area of operation. As we gained significant results against this terrorist NPAs, we will continue with our pursuit operations against the fleeing terrorists. With the continuous support of the local residents in the area, I am confident that my troops can find them again and finally pin them down,” Baybayan said.
The troops also recovered an M60 light machine gun, three. 45 caliber pistols, one fragmentation grenade, assorted types of ammunition, radio equipment, documents, personal belongings and other war materials left behind by escaping rebels.
Baybayan said the encounter was the sixth clash between government forces and communist rebels in 10 days.
Colonel Allan Hambala, the commander of the Army’s 401st Infantry Brigade, said the seizure of the camp was made possible through information provided by the rebel surrenderees and locals.
“This is how sincere we are in our effort to end this communist-driven local insurgency. As long as the people of Agusan del Sur and Surigao del Sur continue to support us in all our peace initiatives, these accomplishments are always possible. Let us altogether end this menace in our society,” Hambala said. By CLC