ARMY soldiers recovered on Saturday the body of a suspected member of the New People’s Army (NPA) killed in the October 31 clash of the communist rebels and government troops at Sitio Kulasisi in Barangay Maasim in Sarangani Province.
Philippine Army’s 10th Infantry Division spokesperson Captain Ernest Carolina said the troops of the 27th Infantry Battalion have yet to identify the body.
Carolina said the body was found in Barangay Lumasal in Maasim around 5:30 a.m. Saturday.
He added that the troops also recovered an M16 rifle from the rebel’s possession. The government soldiers believed that the lifeless rebel was left by his comrades.
“According to the 27th Infantry Battalion operations center, the October 31 firefight lasted for about 15 minutes before the rebels withdrew towards northwesterly direction. There were no casualties reported on the government side,” Carolina said.
Carolina said the dead rebel found in Lumasal was the ninth NPA rebel killed in a clash following the operation of the government troops, which was driven by the information from the community. He would also like to believe that there are more wounded rebels after the encounter last Friday.
“The NPA traditionally devote extra effort to hide the real number of their casualties. They drag as many as they can, and later dispose them in a shallow grave deep in the jungle. There were many documented instances where we had dig up these graves and turned over it to their families after a blessing,” he said.
Carolina said the troops of the 27th Infantry Battalion are already on a pursuit operation against the NPA rebels whom they have encountered.
He added that the Eastern Mindanao Command has directed all its units to intensify its campaign against the communist group.