NPA owns Bukidnon attacks but Army denies they happened
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY –– The communist-led New People’s Army (NPA) has admitted responsibility for the attacks in Bukidnon this January, claiming to have killed 12 soldiers, hurt eight others, and burned six pieces of heavy equipment.
Ka Malem Mabini, spokesperson of the NPA north-central Mindanao command, said in a statement emailed to the Inquirer that the rebels launched eight attacks from Jan. 20 to 31 and vowed to launch more.
The Philippine Army, however, denied that these attacks took place, except for the clash in Cabanglasan town on Jan. 31, where a soldier was wounded.
Major Rodulfo Cordero Jr., spokesperson of the Army’s 4th Infantry Division, said troops of the 88th Infantry Battalion clashed with NPA fighters on Jan. 31, where a splinter from an improvised explosive device detonated by the NPA hurt one soldier.
But in the NPA’s version of the story, an NPA sniper killed a soldier in Cabanglasan’s Sitio Saluringan, Barangay Canangaan on Jan. 30, prompting the soldiers to launch a clearing operation the following day.
As the soldiers did so, rebels detonated a landmine, killing five soldiers and injuring eight others, according to Mabini’s statement.
“That’s not true,” said Cordero. “They just wanted to project to their comrades at the national level and their financiers that they still have the force to keep the funds coming.”
The NPA also said they burned six heavy pieces of equipment owned by Ulticon Builders Inc. in Sitio San Roque, Barangay Mandahican of Cabanglasan on Jan. 25.
Earlier, Police Major Jisselle Longgakit, spokesperson of the Bukidnon provincial police, said police and military officials were preparing a case against 15 NPA rebels behind the burning of the company’s heavy equipment.
Cordero said the NPA would be liable for burning properties owned by civilians not a party to the armed conflict.
Aside from the two attacks, the NPA took responsibility for the simultaneous attacks against the Army detachments in Sityo Kipulot, Barangay Palacapao, and Barangay Butong of Quezon town at 12 p.m. on Jan. 20 that, according to the statement, killed a soldier; the Jan. 26 attack on an Army camp in Quezon town’s Barangay Minungan, which killed three soldiers; the Jan. 27 attack in San Fernando town’s Barangay Namnam’s Sitio Butay that, according to the rebel group, killed two soldiers under the 60th IB; and the Jan. 29 attack of government troops conducting a psychological operation in Valencia City’s Sitio Buko, Barangay Banlag.
The statement vowed to make the “US-Duterte regime bleed from a thousand cuts, by “launching more offensive military actions.”
“In the face of the country’s current health, economic, and political crisis, it is ever more justified for the people’s army to punish the tyrant, fascist, and corrupt regime,” according to the statement.
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