Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Army condemns NPA 'extortion' on Agusan Norte village

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 14, 2020): Army condemns NPA 'extortion' on Agusan Norte village (By Alexander Lopez)

Google map of Jabonga town, Agusan del Norte.

The military has condemned the harassment on Agusan del Norte villagers by the communist New People's Army (NPA) rebels, who allegedly demanded food and money from residents.

Major Francisco Garello, Jr., civil-military operations officer of the Army's 402nd Infantry Brigade (402Bde), noted that the rebels' harassment of the villagers in Barangay Cuyago, Jabonga town, on Monday came amid the NPA's declaration of a unilateral ceasefire and while villagers are struggling because of the ongoing community quarantine.

“Our troopers, upon approaching Barangay Cuyago, were fired upon by the NPAs that resulted in a five-minute encounter,” Garello said.

The NPA rebels, headed by a certain Samuel Batican of Guerrilla Front 16-A, withdrew to an area near the town's national highway where a second clash occurred, Garello said.

No one was wounded on the government side following the clashes, he added.

Garello said the Army's 29th Infantry Battalion recovered four rolls of detonating cord.

Brig. Gen. Maurito Licudine, 402Bde commander, condemned the NPA for its "continued extortion activities and violating their own unilateral ceasefire declaration",

“We call on the people of Caraga to condemn the treacherous and terroristic acts of CNTs (Communist NPA Terrorists) against unarmed civilians,” Licudine said.

In recent weeks, he said NPA rebels continued to harass remote villages, especially the indigenous people (IP) communities in Caraga Region, despite the ceasefire.

Licudine recalled the killing of an IP leader and a civilian in San Miguel, Surigao del Sur, last month by the NPA.

Despite the attacks, the Army official assured Caraga residents of the continuing security operations of the Army and the Philippine National Police (PNP), while helping the different line agencies in the front lines of the fight against Covid-19.

“We shall not let our guards down against these terrorists. The Army is constantly on alert to preempt the evil plans of the NPA against the civilians in this time of crisis,” Licudine said.

The NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.


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