2 soldiers wounded in clash with NPA in Lanao del Sur
BUTIG, Lanao del Sur—Two soldiers were wounded on Sunday (July 28) in a gunfight with armed men believed to be New People’s Army (NPA) guerrillas in the town of Lumba Bayabao, Lanao del Sur province, the military said on Monday (July 29).
Lt. Col. Edgar Allan Villanueva, head of the Army’s 49th Infantry Battalion, said some of his men along with soldiers from other Army units discovered an NPA camp in the area but were met with an explosion coming from an improvised explosive device (IED) or homemade bomb. Two of the soldiers suffered shrapnel wounds.
Villanueva said the explosion was meant to delay the advance of the soldiers.
He said villagers alerted the Army about some 50 armed men who had set up camp in a village of Lumba Bayabao for almost a month already. The armed men were believed to be from the Guerrilla Front 12 of the NPA.
Soldiers were eventually able to take over the camp and found that it was being used as a “medical training” facility by rebels, Villanueva said.
He said residents were being invited by rebels in a recruitment effort.
Brig. Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr., head of the Army’s 103rd IB based in Marawi City, said Sunday’s operation was a clear message to NPA that it was not welcome in Lanao del Sur.
Brawner said he believed NPA wanted to establish a presence in the province “because this is their source of ammunition and firearms.” Rebels also wanted to take funds for the rehabilitation of Marawi City and parts of Lanao del Sur that have been ravaged by the war on terror. “That is their activity, they are extortionists,” Brawner said./TSB
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