Thursday, January 14, 2010

Troops clash with NPA rebels in Mindanao

DAVAO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / January 14, 2010) – Troops clashed with New People’s Army on Thursday in Davao City, a day after communist rebels seized an executive of a banana plantation cooperative and used him as shield in raiding the farm in the southern Philippines, officials said on Thursday.

Captain Emmanuel Garcia, a spokesman for the Army’s 10th Infantry Division, said the fighting broke out in Dalagdag village in Calinan District, but there were no reports of casualties from both sides.

Garcia, quoting reports from the commander of the 69th Infantry Battalion, Lieutenant Colonel Cesar de Mesa, said residents secretly tipped off the military about the presence of rebels in the village.

“Our troops responded to the call of residents and a 20-minute gun battle with the terrorists ensued. We are thankful with the overwhelming support and cooperation of the residents who want their place cleaned of the NPA who have been pestering them for so long,” he quoted De Mesa as saying.

He said soldiers recovered anti-government propaganda left behind by fleeing rebels.

Garcia said the NPA also attacked a banana cooperative plantation in Compostela Valley province after seizing its chairman, Efren Cagumbay, late Wednesday in the village of Tagnanan in Mabini town.

He said rebels first stormed the house of Cagumbay and then used him as shield to raid the plantation run by the cooperative and seized assorted weapons, including six shotguns and a .45-caliberm pistol owned by security guards.

“The disarmed security guards said they cannot fire at the armed men because they are holding Cagumbay at gunpoint,” Garcia said.

Major General Carlos Holganza, commander of the 10th Infantry Division, ordered troops to track down the raiders and rescue their hostage, the chairman of the Mampising Multipurpose Cooperative.

“The use of an unarmed civilian as a human shield only cements the reputation of the NPA as a terrorist organization without respect to any law and moral standard. The means by which they employ deceptive, immoral and oppressive methods is in line with their anti-people and anti-progress policy,” Holganza said.

The NPA is fighting for decades for the establishment of a Maoist state in the country. (Mindanao Examiner)

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