ZAMBOANGA CITY – A suspected New People’s Army (NPA) rebel was killed in an encounter with government troops and four high-powered firearms were recovered in a remote barangay in Lanao del Sur.
Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan Jr, commander of the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom), says the clash happened at around 4:30 p.m. Saturday, 20 February, in Barangay Ragayan in Maguing.
He says Army soldiers from the 5th Infantry Battalion under the Joint Task Force ZamPeLan (Zamboanga Peninsula and Lanao provinces) were on combat operations when they encountered a group of NPA rebels.
Also, Lt. Col. Romulus Rabara, 5IB commander, says the firefight lasted for several minutes. The rebels then retreated and fled in different directions, leaving behind the remains of their slain comrade. The slain rebel, whose body was turned over to the local government, is yet to be identified.
Recovered from the clash site are four high-powered firearms consisting of two M-16 Armalite rifles and two M-79 grenade Launchers; one low-powered firearm; and several other war materiels including a hand grenade, one bandoleer, 10 magazines with ammunition, 22 rounds of ammunition for M203, and five combat packs with personal belongings.
Maj. Gen. Generoso Ponio, Joint Task Force ZamPeLan commander, vows to continue to conduct focused military operations and intelligence monitoring. He says they will intensify the whole-of-nation approach to convince the rebels to lay down their arms and return to the fold of the law.
Waging “armed struggle” for more than 52 years to topple down the government, the Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA (CPP-NPA), is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (BG/Headline PH)
Featured image: Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan Jr, commander of the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom)