Communist rebels hunted in Surigao

TROOPS belonging to the Eastern Mindnao Command (Eastmincom) launched Friday a pursuit operation against suspected members of the New People's Army (NPA) involved in a recent encounter in Lianga town in Surigao del Sur.

Philippine Army's 4th Infantry Division officer 1st Lieutenant Karl Jan Devaras said the troops are looking into the members of the NPA's Sub-Regional Sentro De Grabidad, Sub-Regional Committee-South Land, and Guerilla Fronts 19-A and 19-B of the North Eastern Mindanao.

Devaras said the encounter took place at Kilometer 9, Sitio Han-ayan in Barangay Diatagon while the troops were responding to reports about suspected rebels planned to burn the houses in the area to prevent lumad evacuees in Tandag City from returning to their homes.

Recovered from the encounter site were one AK47 assault rifle, three loaded AK47 magazines, two rifle grenades, and two M203 grenades.

The troops also recovered two jungle packs, six blasting caps for improvised explosive devices (IEDs), several assorted empty shells, subversive documents and letters addressed to well-known businessmen.

Devaras said there are also letters written in a form of a permit to campaign (PTC) and permit to win (PTW) addressed to some aspiring politicians in Surigao del Sur.

He added that the troops also traced several blood stains believed to be from the rebels.

"We would like to reiterate our call for the NPA rebels to return to the folds of the law. We are willing to facilitate on their reintegration to the community with the help of the local government units," Devaras said.

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