2 ranking NPA rebels, 2 followers killed in clashes

ZAMBOANGA. Government troops kill two ranking New People’s Army (NPA) rebels and two followers in separate clashes in the hinterlands of Zamboanga del Norte and Wednesday, December 27, and Thursday, December 28. A photo handout shows the picture of one of the NPA rebels killed during the separate firefight.
ZAMBOANGA. Government troops kill two ranking New People’s Army (NPA) rebels and two followers in separate clashes in the hinterlands of Zamboanga del Norte and Wednesday, December 27, and Thursday, December 28. A photo handout shows the picture of one of the NPA rebels killed during the separate firefight. SunStar Zamboanga

TWO ranking New People’s Army (NPA) rebels and two followers were killed in separate clashes with government forces in the hinterlands of Zamboanga del Norte, the military reported Friday, December 29.

The clashes ensued as the combined forces of the 53rd and 97th Infantry Battalions (IBs) operating under Task Unit Terminator of the 102nd Infantry Brigade launched offensive against the remnants of Guerrilla Front (GF) Sendong of the NPA’s Western Mindanao Regional Party Committee (WMRPC).

The 102nd Infantry Brigade said the first clash happened around 5:40 p.m. Wednesday, December 27, in Wilben village, Sergio Osmeña, Zamboanga del Norte, that resulted to the death of Charlie Hintapa, also known as Ka Andot and Ka Esik, the Team Leader of GF Sendong.

The troops launched an offensive after they received information from the community that armed individuals were seen gathering in Barangay Wilben on Tuesday during the 55th anniversary celebration of the Communist Party of the Philippines.

The troops recovered a grenade, subversive documents, and personal belongings at the clash site.

The second clash took place during a pursuit operation conducted by Task Unit Terminator around 11:45 a.m. Thursday, December 28, in San Jose village, Sergio Osmeña.

Killed in Thursday’s clash were Maria Luz Ranan alias Cherry Teola, who is known as Ka Mona, the F Sendong secretary; Jerome Lobo Albios, alias Ka Raffy; and, Mary Ann Nabicis, alias Ka Bianca.

The troops recovered a caliber 5.56-millimter M4 Rifle at the clash site.

Lieutenant Colonel Terrence Ylanan, 53IB and Task Unit Terminator commander, expressed his gratitude to concerned residents for reporting the presence of the NPA rebels in their community.

“The remnants of the WMRPC were consolidating for the CPP Anniversary, but thanks to resilient communities who reported, their plans to recover the area were thwarted; we're grateful to the residents,” Ylanan said.

The military noted the remaining members of GF Sendong who used to operate in the Misamis Occidental, were forced to move to the adjacent province of Zamboanga del Norte to consolidate with other remnants of WMRPC and to evade the operating troops.

Lieutenant Colonel Jimmy Sanz, 97IB commander, ensured the remains of the slain NPA rebels will be treated humanely and will assist in bringing them back to their respective families.

“The 97IB will do its best to find the family of the fallen individuals to properly turn them over,” Sanz added.

Brigadier General Elmer Suderio, 102nd Infantry Brigade commander, hast commended the troops of Task Unit Terminator and expressed his condolences to the family of the slain NPA rebels.

“I am saddened by the tragic loss of those individuals; it could have been prevented if only they had heard our call for them to go back to the folds of the law. I once again call on the remaining members that it is not too late to lay down their arms,” Suderio said.

Meanwhile, Major General Gabriel Viray, III, commander of the 1st Infantry Division, commended the troops from 53IB, 97IB, and the 102nd Infantry Brigade for the remarkable accomplishment.

“This is good progress in achieving total victory in ending the Local Communist Armed Conflict," Viray said.

Lieutenant General William Gonzales, commander of Western Mindanao Command, congratulated the 1st Infantry Division for a job well done.

“Continue the effort and sustain the gains in your campaign against insurgency in Zamboanga Peninsula and Misamis Occidental,” Gonzales said. (SunStar Zamboanga)

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