ARMY INTENSIFIES OPERATION VS. NPA IN NOCOT
KIDAPAWAN CITY — Military forces in North Cotabato have stepped up operations against a band of communist guerrillas following a clash on Friday that left two soldiers slightly injured.
Lt. Col. Rhojun Rosales, commander of the Army’s 39th Infantry Battalion, said the prompt response by government troops to a civilian tip-off about the presence of New Peoples’ Army (NPA) in Barangay New Baguio, Makilala town, prevented rebel attacks on government installations and on a banana plantation in the area.
“They have been massing there, planning to attack Army detachments and burn banana plantation equipment,” Rosales said on Saturday.
When the soldiers arrived in Sitio Badok, the rebels opened fire, triggering a gun battle that lasted from 10 a.m. up to about 12 noon.
He said Army personnel, despite being outnumbered by about 30 NPA guerrillas, forced the rebels to retreat deep into the mountains in the boundaries of North Cotabato and Davao del Sur.
Air strikes from the Philippine Air Force sent the rebels scampering to various directions, the military official said.
To prevent the communist rebels under NPA Guerilla Front 72, who were headed by Commander Burjak, from coming back, military detachments have been established in the village to protect the civilians and the workers of the banana plantation in the area.
During clearing operations on Friday afternoon, government forces recovered two anti-personnel mines, eight blasting caps, 50 meters detonating wires and other communist stuff in an area where the rebels hid for several days. (PNA)