ALUBIJID, Buenavista, Agusan del Norte – Government troops seized a Communist New People’s Army Terrorists (CNTs) encampment almost a hectare in area in Sitio San Jose, Barangay Durian, Las Nieves, Agusan del Norte on Tuesday.
Aside from the captured Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) camp, elements of the Army’s 23rd Infantry Battalion (23rd IB) also killed one CNT and wounded an undetermined number of other rebels.
“Our operating troops are still pursuing the fleeing CNTs following bloodstains in their escape route of withdrawal,” said Lt. Col. Francisco L. Molina Jr., commanding officer of the 23rd IB.
The battalion commander believes that undetermined numbers of CNTs were wounded in the fierce gunfight that lasted 15 minutes before the encampment was captured.
The captured camp, with makeshift huts utilizing laminated sacks, can accommodate 40 to 60 persons.
The discovery of this camp took place after villagers pinpointed its exact location, the 23rd IB commander said.
Only one soldier was wounded during the gunfight and he is now in stable condition.
The camp, which has a communal farm, belonged to the Sentro de Grabidad (SDG) CAOCAO Guerilla Front Committee 4-A under a certain “Commander Weds” of the CPP-NPA North Central Mindanao Regional Command (NCMRC), 1st Lt. Roel T. Maglalang, Civil Military Operations (CMO) officer of the 23rd IB, said.
The battalion-size operation also led to the seizure of one AK-47 rifle, two M16 Armalite rifles, assorted live ammunition, four laptops, 11 mobile phones, one set generator for power light and other purposes inside the camp, 21 backpacks containing personal belongings, food including assorted canned goods and two sacks of rice, medicine supplies including pills, bomb-making materials, wires, and anti-government documents, Maglalang added.
As of press time, troops of the 23rd IB are still scouring the seized CPP-NPA encampment while other troops of the same unit are still pursuing the fleeing CNTs.
In another development, five CNTs surrendered to the command group of the 75th IB under the command of Lt. Col. Warren C. Munda in Bislig City, Surigao del Sur.
After more than three years of hiding and running in the Diwata mountain ranges in Surigao del Sur, these former CNTs yielded to authorities in order to avail of the peace and development program of the government and live peaceful lives with their families.
The surrenderees personally handed their assorted high-powered firearms to Lt. Col. Munda’s headquarters in Barangay Maharlika, Bislig City on Tuesday.
The CNTs were former members of the NPA’s weakened Guerrilla Front 14 under the CPP-NPA North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee (NMRC) operating in Surigao del Sur, a military report on Friday said.
The 75th IB commander assured the surrenderees of their safety as the government will help them enroll in the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program for livelihood assistance.