Soldiers kill 3 NPA rebels in quick battle in Davao Oriental
DAVAO CITY – Three suspected communist rebels were killed in a clash with government troops in Cateel town, Davao Oriental on Saturday, authorities said, hours before a communist official urged the New People’s Army (NPA) to refrain from launching attacks against state security forces.
Senior Supt. Harry Espela, chief of the Davao Oriental Police Provincial Office, said the bodies of unidentified slain NPA rebels were recovered around 7 a.m., more than six hours after the firefight at Sitio 35 in Barangay Taytayan.
Quoting a report from the military, Espela said the fighting happened as troops from the Army’s 67th Infantry Battalion and 104th Division Reconnaissance Company were on combat patrol.
At around 1:45 a.m., they chanced on about 10 communist guerrillas in the area whom they engaged in a 30-minute battle that resulted in the death of three insurgents.
During the clearing operations, the soldiers also recovered three assault rifles, a grenade launcher, two improvised explosive devices (IEDs), bomb-making paraphernalia, three cellphones, seven backpacks containing personal belongings, NPA documents, and medical kits, among others.
Earlier, Fidel Agcaoili, chief negotiator for the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, said a recommendation was communicated to the Communist Party of the Philippines directing the NPA to stand down and instead help the government fight against terrorists from the Maute Group, Abu Sayyaf, and Ansar al Khilafa Philippines who had been laying siege to Marawi City.
Agcaoili said the respite of fighting between the communists and the government could help pave the way for a unified effort to crush the jihadists – provided the military and police would also stop operations against communist insurgents.
It was not clear how Saturday’s clash would affect the communists’ offer to cooperate with the government against Islamic State-inspired terrorists.
The NPA in Southern Mindanao was also holding a police officer from Davao Oriental, SPO2 George Rupinta, who was abudcted last June 9 in Barangay Tagugpo, Lupon town. /atm
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