NPA makes biggest haul of guns in raid on Butuan City security agencyBy Franklin A. Caliguid |Inquirer Mindanao
BUTUAN CITY, Philippines—The National Democratic Front said Wednesday that Monday’s raid by New People’s Army guerrillas on the headquarters of a security agency serving mining companies here resulted in the largest firearms haul for the rebels in years.
While NDF Mindanao spokesman Jorge Madlos did not say just how large the haul from the Earth Savers Security Agency at Aruville Subdivision in Barangay Libertad here was, police said the raiders carted away 46 AK-47 rifles, 3 M-14 sniper rifles, 10 shotguns, 10 9-millimeter pistols and an unspecified amount of ammunition.
Superintendent Martin Gamba, spokesperson of the Caraga police, said at least 20 NPA rebels in two vehicles arrived at the security agency’s headquarters, which is about two kilometers from the regional police headquarters, at around 8:30 p.m.
Gamba said the rebels gained entrance by posing as National Bureau of Investigation agents and presenting search warrants. They then disarmed the four guards on duty, he said.
Gamba admitted that the police failed to catch up with the fleeing rebels but an operation against them was continuing as of Wednesday.
“Investigations are also ongoing,” Gamba said.
Madlos, also known as Ka Oris, said in a statement that the volume of guns the rebels seized was so large it was considered the NPA’s biggest haul in years.
He said the NPA decided to target the security agency, owned by retired police official Cesar Nario, because its guards were involved in the harassment of oppositors to a Chinese-owned mining company in Trento, Agusan del Sur.
“The security agency committed rampant abuses and harassment against civilians and lumads, who are opposed to mining,” Madlos told the Inquirer.
Madlos also branded the security agency as a “private army in disguise.”
Monday’s raid came barely a week after the NDF celebrated its 39th anniversary on April 24.
The NPA is known to carry similar raids when an organization under the Communist Party of the Philippines observes important events such as anniversaries.
On April 9, just 11 days after the NPA anniversary on March 29, communist rebels posing as soldiers also stormed the police station of Tigbao in Zamboanga del Sur and seized at least seven M16 rifles, an M14 assault rifle and a 9-mm pistol.
On December 16, a few days before the CPP’s anniversary on December 26, five soldiers were killed while two others were injured when NPA rebels stormed a military detachment in Tandag, Surigao del Sur.