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11 NPA fighters killed in Surigao gunbattle

GOVERNMENT forces recover war materials, food stuffs, office and medical supplies, laptops and projector and personal belongings at the lair of the New People’s Army (NPA) in mountainous area of Diwata Complex in Surigao del Sur. (4th ID-PAO photo)

GOVERNMENT forces recover war materials, food stuffs, office and medical supplies, laptops and projector and personal belongings at the lair of the New People’s Army (NPA) in mountainous area of Diwata Complex in Surigao del Sur. (4th ID-PAO photo)

By MIKE U. CRISMUNDO

CAMP BANCASI, Butuan City — Government troops killed at least 11 New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in a series of clashes in the mountainous areas of Andap Valley in Surigao del Sur, the Philippine Army reported Thursday.

Capt. Al Anthony B. Pueblas, chief of Public Affairs Office of the Philippine Army’s 4th Infantry Division (4th ID), said troops of the 401st Infantry Brigade foiled an impending attack of CPP-NPA North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee (NEMRC) on government forces.

Tribal communities in Andap Valley Complex, a known NPA hideout in Surigao del Sur, tipped off the presence of top-ranking NPA leaders and combatants in their area.
“They (rebels) are planning to disrupt government efforts in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, and they are to take advantage of the outbreak as security forces focuses on mitigating the effects of the deadly virus,” Pueblas said.

The first fierce encounter occurred Thursday dawn, followed by a series of gunfights that lasted up to Tuesday, May 19, he said.
The military recorded five encounters with the NPA forces in isolated areas in Andap Valley Complex, he said.

“Eleven CNTs (Communist New People’s Army Terrorists) were killed and undetermined number of other rebels were believed wounded in these series of gunfight,” Capt. Pueblas said.

The soldiers recovered five high-powered firearms, two laptops, one overhead projector, flash drives, external hard drives, two anti-personnel mines, hand grenades, bandoleers, assorted live ammunition and magazines, handheld radios, personal belongings, assorted food and medical supplies, and subversive documents with high tactical value, he said.

The operating troops overrun the NPA lair that could accommodate more or less 120 individuals, according to Pueblas.

He said the recovered laptop computers and projector were believed to be owned by Myrna Sularte alias “Malaya”, the secretary of NEMRC; and Alvin Loque alias“Joaquin Jacinto”, the spokesperson of Komisyun Mindanao (KOMMID).

He added that it is highly probable that the personal and security staff of Malaya — Alfie Masinatao Basa alias “Momoy”, vice commanding officer of Regional Headquarters (RHQ), NEMRC; and Lorna Pamutongan Gomez lias “Momay”, medical staff of NEMRC — present during the ecounter.

“The four top-ranking NPA officials are believed to be fatally wounded to include their sub cohort commanders during their withdrawal in different directions as evidenced by heavy bloodstains found after each gun battle with the government forces,” Pueblas said.

Due to the rugged and mountainous terrain of the encounter, soldiers experienced difficulties in the retrieval of the dead rebels.

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