TWO soldiers were wounded in a clash with New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in Lanao del Sur, military officials said Monday, July 29.
Major Arvin John Encinas, Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) spokesperson, said the clash broke out around 9:15 a.m. Sunday in Sabala Bantayao village, Lumba Bayabao, Lanao del Sur.
Encinas said the firefight ensued when the troops chanced upon 10 NPA rebels while on combat operation in Sabala Bantayao village.
He did not release the names of the injured soldiers except that they belong to the Army’s 103rd Infantry Brigade.
The Westmincom official said the NPA rebels scampered to different directions leaving behind some personal belongings, which the troops have recovered.
The Army’s 103rd Infantry Brigade launched the combat operation to hunt down approximately 180 NPA rebels who entered Lumba Bayabao town to conduct “basic military training” and to elude military operations on Bukidnon.
The NPA rebels who figured in the clash belong to the Guerrilla Front 12, which is under the NPA’s Sub-Regional Committee (SRC) 5.
Encinas said the foraging and extortion activities affected the residents which prompted them to report to military authorities the presence of the NPA in the area, thus, the combat operation was launched by the military.
Brigadier General Romeo Brawner, Army’s 103rd Infantry Brigade commander, stressed that there is no place for the NPA rebels in Lanao del Sur as the provincial government earlier declared the rebel group as “persona non grata.”
“We will exhaust every means available to rid this place (Lanao del Sur) of the enemy’s presence and influence,” Brawner said. (Bong Garcia/SunStar Philippines)