Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Fierce battle between AFP, NPA continues in northern Mindanao

From the Manila Bulletin (May 13, 2020): Fierce battle between AFP, NPA continues in northern Mindanao (By Mike Crismundo)

CAMP BANCASI, Butuan City – A gun battle between government forces and New People’s Army (NPA) has been raging since Sunday, May 10, in the highland provincial border between Agudan del Norte and Misamis Oriental, according to the military.

23rd IB-CMO/Manila Bulletin

Troops from the 23rd Infantry Battalion (23rd IB) are now pursuing about 70 heavily armed Communist rebels belonging to of Guerilla Front 4-A (GF 4-A) of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-NPA Northeastern Mindanao Regional Committee (NEMRC).

In his report to Brig. Gen. Maurito L. Licudine, commanding general of the Army’s 402nd Infantry Brigade based here on Wednesday, Lt. Col. Francisco Molina, commanding officer of the 23rd IB said running gun battles continued to be waged with pursuing troops reporting that they have found the bodies of 10 Communist guerillas on Tuesday, May 12. The slain rebels were apparently left behind by their fleeing comrades.

Pursuing troops also seized bombs, and improvised land mines along the rebels’ escape route, the report said.

Molina added that the soldiers were being careful and deliberate in their chase of the fleeing rebels, who have resorted to planting landmines along the route of their withdrawal.

Aside from bombs, 23rd IB troops also recovered five high-powered firearms, live ammunitions, landmines, cellphones, and subversive documents with high intelligence value, the 23rd IB commander said.

The 23rd IB is under the operational control of the 402nd brigade based here.

Ground troops were also being provided air cover by the Philippine Air Force (PAF) strike wing, and helicopter wing of Tactical Operations Group (TOG).

The ground Army commander believed that an undetermined number of other terrorists were wounded as bloodstains were seen along the rebels escape.

Molina said the first encounter took place in Sitio Likudon, Barangay Kamanikan in Gingoog City, Misamis Oriental.

Sitio Likudon is already at the border of Las Nieves town in Agusan del Norte.

“As of early morning Tuesday (May 12), we already recovered 16 dead bodies of NPA combatants,” Lt. Col. Molina said.

The bodies of the slain NPAs were immediately brought to two funeral parlors in Gingoog City.

Since the start of the Likudon gunbattle, sporadic gun battles continue since Sunday in the area as the remaining NPA members scampered in different directions after the first armed engagement.

Operations of the 23rd IB took place on Sunday after villagers reported the presence of around 70 armed CNTs in the area.

Upon reaching at Likudon area at around 4 a.m. on Sunday, the Communist terrorists fired at approaching troopers that resulted in a 15-minute fierce firefight.

The Sunday firefight resulted in the sporadic and running gun battle up to Tuesday, also said 1st Lt. Roel T. Maglalang, Civil Military Operations (CMO) officer of the 23rd IB.

As of press time, helicopter gunships have injected more combat troopers at the border between Agusan del Norte and Misamis Oriental.

There was still no reported casualty on the government side.

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