Army overrun biggest camp of NPA in Magpet-A A +A
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
KIDAPAWAN CITY -- A company of soldiers belonging to the Army's 57th Infantry Battalion (IB) overran a rebel camp in Magpet, a hinterland town in North Cotabato, after almost three hours of fierce fighting with the communist guerillas on Monday.
Lieutenant Bruno Hugo, commander of the Charlie Company of the 57th IB, said the rebel camp now under their control is located at Sitio Bantaan in Barangay Bagumbayan, one of the villages in Magpet town considered as "highly-influenced" by the New Peoples’ Army (NPA).
Hugo said the exchange of fires started around 10 a.m.
Around 1:30 p.m. Monday, the soldiers were able to control one of the biggest camps of the NPAs in Barangay Bagumbayan.
"The camp can accommodate at least 300 rebels. We recovered from the site, after three hours of fierce fighting with them, many of the personnel belongings of the rebels and subversive documents," Hugo said.
There was no body count but the rebels suffered heavy casualties, according to the Army officer.
"We saw the rebels carrying their comrades who were wounded, and some maybe were already dead. But none of the dead rebels was recovered in the site," he said.
Hugo said no one from his men was hurt during the firefight.
The rebels were under a certain Commander Joeffrey of the NPA Front 53, whose operations include towns of Magpet, Arakan, and Antipas in North Cotabato, reports said.
As this developed, a resident of nearby Barangay Basak, also in Magpet town, told media that the soldiers used two children as "guides" in locating the rebels and their satellite bases.
"Ngano man ni'ng mga sundalo, kung mag-operasyon sila, gamiton man ang mga bata. Ila gi-orderan ang mga bata nga mukuyog sa pagpangita nila og mga NPA. Unsa ma'y tan-aw nila sa mga bata? Sundalo parehas nila? Kung ilang gipangita ang NPA, sila diay mangita? Ayaw na intawon apila mga bata, (Why would the soldiers use children during operations? They ordered the children to join in their search for the NPAs. What do they think of the children? Soldiers like them? If they’re searching for the rebels, why not do it on their own? Spare the children, please,)," a resident of Barangay Basak said.
Barangay Basak is adjacent to Barangay Bagumbayan, site of the fierce fighting between the 57th IB and the NPAs. (MCM)
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on July 17, 2012.