From the Manila Bulletin (Oct 21): NPAs burn millions in heavy equipment in Butuan quarry raid
Heavily armed men swooped down on a quarry site at midnight Friday, and set ablaze multi-million peso construction equipment at Barangay Bonbon, which is about 10 kilometers away from this city.
In separate reports, the military and police identified the raiders as members of guerilla-Front Committee 21 of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA Northeastern Mindanao Regional Committee (NEMRC).
The CPP-NPA-NEMRC has yet to issue a statement on its alleged involvement in the burning incident.
Troops from the 401st Infantry Brigade were already dispatched to track down the marauders.
Initial reports said the equipment that were destroyed included four backhoes, a payloader and a dump truck.
The owner of the heavy machineries refused to give any comment as of press time.
But according to one of the operators of the equipments, the raiders numbered about 30, all of them armed with automatic rifles.
They reportedly arrived at midnight Friday, and woke up all the drivers resting in the bunkhouse.
According to one of the heavy equipment operators, the raiders numbering 30 of them, armed The raiders then gathered them in a corner, and were told to watch as the suspects poured gasoline on the vehicles before setting them on fire.
After the incidents, the perpetrators immediately fled towards the southern portion of Barangay Bonbon, particularly in Pasiohan Complex, bordering Agusan and Bukidnon provinces.
No one was reported hurt during the incident.
Abu Sayyaf is one of the smallest and most violent jihadist groups in the southern Philippines. Its name means "bearer of the sword" and it is notorious for kidnapping for ransom, and for attacks on civilians and the army.
The group is believed to have an estimated 400 members and, since 2014, several of its factions have declared their allegiance to the so-called Islamic State (IS).
In 2016, Isnilon Tontoni Hapilon, one of Abu Sayyaf's most prominent leaders, was recognised as the leader of all IS-aligned groups in the Philippines.
Filipino authorities initially characterised the pledges as opportunistic attempts to obtain funds from IS. But IS recognised some pledges and the group's official media outlets have since claimed several attacks in the southern Philippines.
Hapilon and other Abu Sayyaf militants took part in clashes against government forces in the southern Philippine city of Marawi, where militants linked to IS have fought an insurgency since May.
Over the last year and a half Abu Sayyaf has also taken several people hostage - Malaysian and Indonesian workers, Western tourists and one Filipina among them.
Three groups of Indonesians and Malaysians were released earlier in 2016, but two Canadians and one German were killed after their ransom deadlines passed.