DAVAO CITY — Amid calls from the National Democratic Front (NDF) and the government to stop offensives and focus attention to terror groups, clashes between government troops and the New People’s Army (NPA) rebels continue, leaving two soldiers dead and six others wounded in Davao Region on Sunday (June 18).
The Army’s 10th Infantry Division spokesperson Capt. Rhyan Batchar said the soldiers were killed and wounded in an encounter between the 71st Infantry Battalion and more or less 35 NPA rebels in Barangay New Barili, Maco, Compostela Valley province.
The names of the casualties are still being withheld.
Batchar said the wounded soldiers are undergoing treatment at the Army’s hospital.
Meanwhile, a security patrol by the combined elements of the 60 and 70 Infantry Battalions (IB) on Sunday led to the arrest of the NPA’s alleged supply officer identified as Randy Martin Magadan, who was captured with one improvised explosive device.
Magadan, who is also known as Andrew, is reportedly the supply officer of the NPA’s Pulang Bagani Command (PBC4) – South Mindanao Regional Command. He is 24 years old and a resident of Purok 7, Barangay Bollucan, Laak, Compostela Valley.
The military said Magadan was trying to plant the IED along Km 26, Barangay Kidawa in Laak town.
He was turned over to the Laak Municipal Police Station for blotter procedure and filing of case.
In Davao City Sunday, the NPA’s Pulang Bagani Command 2 (PBC2) – South Regional Command 3 (SRC3) ambushed the scout platoon of the 3rd Infantry Battalion while passing along the national highway in Pagan Pequino, Barangay Tamugan in Marilog District.
The Army platoon pursued the attackers leading to almost an hour firefight. No casualty was reported.
In Davao Occidental, troops belonging to the 73rd Infantry Battalion were attacked by armed men believed to be NPA rebels while conducting patrol in the vicinity of Sitio Mamacao, Barangay Marabatuan in Jose Abad Santos, Davao Occidental. No casualty was reported.
In Davao Oriental, two encounters between government soldiers and the NPA rebels occurred in the towns of Cateel and Banaybanay.
On June 17, a 30-minute encounter between the soldiers of 67th Infantry Battalion and NPA took place in the town of Cateel.
Cateel Municipal Police Station commander Senior Insp. Butch Kevin Rapiz bared that around 7 a.m., the 67th IB encountered more or less 10 members of the NPA at Sitio 35, Barangay Taytayan in the said town.
Rapiz said the three bodies were recovered during clearing operation at the encounter site. Identities of the dead persons who sustained multiple gunshot wounds on different parts of their bodies are yet to be determined.
He said the bodies were brought to the police for the families to claim. No casualty report on the side of the government.
The troops recovered high power rifles such as M16 rifle, M16 rifle with M203 grenade launcher, AK 47 rifle, M14 rifle, a grenade launcher, two blasting caps, four battery packs, two Improvised Explosive Device (IED) color blue PVC pipe and metallic case, electrical wires and triggering mechanisms.
They also got from the area an improvised battery tester, 16live ammunition of M16, and empty magazine of M14, two empty magazines of M16, 158 empty shells of M16, 27 empty shells of AK 47, six pairs of boots, two pairs of combat shoes, four pieces of empty bandoliers, three t-shirts with NPA prints, seven back packs, three units of assorted cellphones, three pieces of cradle and subversive materials of NPA.
There were also four vials of Harbipine, three vials of benzylpenicilin, one ampule of tramadol, five ampules of tranexamic acid, a small plastic bottle of dextrose, a disposable infusion set, five pieces of disposable syringes, eight pieces of hospital gauze and assorted tablets.
Recovered items are now under police custody for proper disposition.
Around 6:30 a.m. of June 18, 28th Infantry Battalion troopers encountered a group of NPA at Sitio Sayon, Barangay Kauswagan in Banaybanay.
Based on their report, residents in the area reported to its Community Support Program (CSP) troops that they saw a group of armed men in their barangay.
Upon receiving the reports, troops immediately went to the place and a gunfight ensued which lasted for 45 minutes.
After encounter, soldiers recovered high powered firearms and ammunition such as M16 Rifle, AK47, one long magazine of M16, two magazine of AK47, 163 rounds of M16 ammo, one bandolier and a rifle grenade. Lilian Mellejor and Armando Fenequito Jr/PNA-northboundasia.com