Army denies 9 soldiers killed in clash with NPA

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Saturday, July 26, 2014


THE military has denied the claim of the New People's Army (NPA) that nine soldiers died and two were wounded in an armed clash at Sitio Trucat, Barangay Cawayan in Quezon town, Bukidnon Thursday afternoon, July 24.

Captain Ernest Carolina, the army's 10th Infantry Division (10ID) spokesperson, confirmed to Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro Friday afternoon that only three soldiers were hurt and one died.

Two of the injured and the lone casualty are regular soldiers while the other wounded is a member of the Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit (Cafgu), Carolina said.

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Killed was Private First Class Trevoc Lacar. Wounded were Private First Class Rolando Manumba, Private First Class Reyson Ortega, and Cafgu active auxiliary (CAA) Ronaldo Cabantaw.

A statement from the Maoist rebels emailed to Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro Friday said the nine soldiers who died belonged to the 68th Infantry Battalion (68IB).

"The platoon of 68IB was almost wiped out. Residents in the area saw the government soldiers loading their casualties onto a military truck that night," said Ka Allan Juanito, North Central Mindanao Regional command spokesperson.

Around 4:20 p.m. Thursday, more or less 30 guerrilla fighters ambushed 26 soldiers of the 68IB in Barangay Cawayan.

The 68IB troops just returned from combat operations from the neighboring municipality of San Fernando.

The NPA employed a command-detonated explosive before the firing started. The guerrilla unit safely withdrew without any casualty, Juanito said.

The entire firefight lasted for almost 40 minutes.

The NPA confirmed its troop under the South-Central Bukidnon Sub-regional Command (SCBSRC) conducted the attack in time of the State of the Nation Address of President Benigno Aquino III on Monday, July 28.

The statement read: "These massive military operations are a preparation for Aquino’s coming SONA, with the aim of showcasing the alleged stability of his regime. But the people’s ire will not be doused after his involvement in the multi-billion pork barrel scam was exposed. At the same time, he will never be able to deny the advance of the Filipino people’s armed struggle against his inept and corrupt government."

The NPA rebels seized an M16 rifle, an M79 grenade launcher, two back packs and other military equipment from the soldiers.

Around 11:30 a.m. of July 23, the insurgents attacked the 104th Division Reconnaissance Company of the 10ID in Barangay Sta. Felomina, a neighboring barrio of Cawayan.

The military continues to conduct massive operations following the series of rebel attacks in provinces of Bukidnon, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Sur, Zamboanga Sibugay, Sarangani, Misamis Oriental and other parts of Mindanao.

On July 15, two employees died and an estimated P1.5-million worth of properties were lost to an NPA attack at Sitio Kiantig, Barangay San Jose in Quezon.

On the same day, the said rebels raided a Lumad chieftain's compound that left 14 rebels; tthree Manobos and a soldier dead in Prosperidad town, Agusan del Sur.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on July 26, 2014.

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