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Soldiers, rebels engage in a running gun battle in Manjuyod, Negros Oriental

By: Florence Baesa October 03,2019 - 10:04 PM

War materials  and other itemsleft behind by suspected New People’s Army rebels recovered by soldiers at the encounter site in Sitio Cabangahan, Barangay Bantolinao, Manjuyod, Negros Oriental on Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019.| Photo credit 94th Infantry Battalion.

DUMAGUETE CITY, Negros Oriental — The hinterland Sitio Cabangahan of Barangay Bantolinao in Manjuyod town of Negros Oriental was a scene of a fierce gun battle when a platoon from the Bravo Company of the 94th Infantry Mandirigma Battalion and about 20 suspected members of the New People’s Army (NPA) clashed on Thursday, October 3, 2019.

The running gun battle that began at 2:45 p.m. on Thursday lasted for about 40 minutes,  after which the suspected rebels withdrew towards the northwest direction of the barangay, a report from the 94th ID said.

No soldiers were hurt in the firefight.

Lieutenant Colonel Randy Pagunuran, commanding officer of the 94th IB, in an interview said the NPA side suffered undetermined number of casualties based on the heavy bloodstains found in the escape route of the rebels.

According to Pagunuran, the government troops led by Lieutenant Abdul Naser Ismael were on combat operations after receiving series of reports regarding  the presence of armed men in the area when they encountered the communist rebels.

Pagunuran said after the clearing operation at the encounter site the troops recovered an anti-personnel mine (IED); parts (a bolt, a buffer spring and a charging handle) of an M16 rifle destroyed during the encounter;  one commercial handheld radio; an AM radio; two cellular phones; electrical wire; seven kilos of rice; two backpacks; three ponchos; five hammocks; 10 “Ang Bayan” booklets; two T-shirts with PKP print; and a pair of slippers.

“I urge the soldiers to relentlessly pursue the NPAs who had been menacing our people in the countryside. I also encourage the people to continue to report the presence of NPAs in  their communities in order for us to prevent their extortion and other terroristic activities,”  Brigadier General Benedict Arevalo, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, said.

Thursday’s encounter was the second in Barangay Bantolinao, Manjuyod. The first was in June where five  anti-personnel mines where recovered.

The encounter Thursday was the 14th armed clash between soldiers under the 303rd Brigade and the NPA this year./elb

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