DAVAO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Nov. 28, 2008) – Government troops captured a rebel encampment of the communist New People’s Army after a firefight that left one soldier wounded in the southern Philippines, officials said Friday.
Officials said the troops seized the camp in Mount Diwata in Compostela Valley’s Monkayo town late Thursday afternoon. The mountain is a known gold rush area in the province, a stronghold of NPA rebels in Mindanao Island.
An army commander said villagers allegedly tipped off the soldiers about the presence of the rebels. Troops assaulted the camp, sparking a firefight that wounded infantryman Larry Plana.
“This discovery of the NPA encampment was attributed to the locals who informed us of the presence of NPAs in their village,” said Maj.Rolando Rodil, commander of the 25th Infantry Battalion, who led the assault against the rebels.
Rodil said a still undetermined number of NPA gunmen were believed killed or wounded. “The NPAs believed to have suffered casualties as the troops seen scattered bloodstains in the said encampment and at their route of withdrawal,” he said.
He said troops also recovered about 40 meters of wire used for claymore mine, sacks of rice and canned goods, including tents and subversive documents.
“The rebels are believed to be members of the Sentro de Gravidad of Guerilla Front 25 of the Southern Mindanao Regional Committee. The encampment, which can accommodate 50 persons, is the improvised explosive manufacturing center of the NPA,” Rodil said.
Government forces are pursuing rebels holding a police officer and a Special Forces commander who were both captured by the NPA in separate attacks in Mindanao.
The rebels said Police Officer 3 Eduardo Tumol, a member of the 1105th Provincial Mobile Group and First Lieutenant Vicente Cammayo, commander of a Special Forces unit, are being investigated for possible human rights violations and other crimes committed against innocent civilians.
Tumol was arrested on Nov. 5 after stopping a police car at a checkpoint in the village of Baogo in Caraga town in Davao Oriental, while Cammayo had been captured Nov. 19 by rebel forces after a firefight in Monkayo town in Compostela Valley province.
The NPA, armed wing of the outlawed Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), is fighting the government the past four decades for the establishment of a Maoist state in the country. Peace talks between Manila and the CPP-NPA collapsed in 2004 after both sides failed to sign an agreement ending hostilities in the countryside. (Mindanao Examiner)