Friday, March 05, 2010

Army troops clash with NPA rebels in South RP

DAVAO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Mar. 5, 2010) – Communist insurgents clashed Friday with government soldiers in Compostela Valley province in the southern Philippines, officials said.

Army Captain Emmanuel Garcia, a spokesman for the 10th Infantry Division, said soldiers fought about 50 New People’s Army rebels for two hours in the village of Salvacion in Monkayo town.

He said the clash occurred just as a leftist solon Satur Ocampo visited the Davao region. He said troops also clashed last month in Davao Oriental where Ocampo visited and led anti-government rallies.

“Reports reaching the Army headquarters here indicate two hours of heavy fighting which resulted to the death of one soldier and wounding of two others which prompted authorities to send reinforcements,” Garcia said.

The slain soldier was identified as Private First Class Benzon Balandan and the wounded as Private First Class John Patrick Madariaga and Private First Class Jaypee Baricaua.

Garcia said a still undetermined number of rebels were either killed or wounded.

“The report said the NPAs suffered severe casualties but were able to extricate their wounded comrades,” he said, adding troops overran two rebel encampments and recovered six improvised explosives, blasting caps and detonating cords.

He described the camps as fortified and can accommodate at least 70 people.
Major General Carlos Holganza, the regional army chief, ordered troops to pursue the rebels as he expressed grief over the death of his soldier, but said the sacrifice of the troops have made the people a lot safer from terrorism.

“Our soldiers’ sacrifices were not in vain as their efforts have made the people of Compostela Valley and the whole of Davao region a lot safer with the recovery of these improvised explosive devices which might endanger the lives of our citizens.” Holganza said.

He also said the latest clash occurred as militant organizations led by Ocampo, a former high ranking member of the outlawed Communist Party of the Philippines is in the region orchestrating anti government protests in Davao City, Compostela Valley and Davao del Sur provinces.

Holganza did not say whether Ocampo’s visit had anything to do with the fighting or if the solon ordered rebels to attack government forces. The military also tagged other leftist solons and members of militant groups either as rebels or NPA sympathizers.

The NPA is the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines which is fighting for the establishment of a Maoist state in the country. (Mindanao Examiner)

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