Clashes between NPA, Army kill 5 more gov’t troops
At least five government soldiers were killed in separate clashes with communist rebels in three provinces in Mindanao and Luzon, reports said.
In Mindanao, Rigoberto Sanchez, spokesperson for the New People’s Army’s (NPA) Southern Mindanao Regional Operations Command, said rebel offensives in the region were launched to counter what he described as “intensifying” military attacks.
Sanchez said one Sgt. Cerilo Galigaw and another soldier whom he did not identify were killed in a clash with NPA rebels in Caraga town in Davao Oriental province on July 21.
Sanchez said members of an NPA unit were meeting with representatives of a community who complained about alleged threats from soldiers who were demanding information about rebel activities, when they encountered the soldiers.
“While the consultation was going on, two men on board a motorcycle advancing toward the consultation venue were spotted by the NPA’s blocking team,” Sanchez said. “In their haste to escape from the NPA team, the two men’s [motorcycle] swerved [and they fell to the ground].”
Call to surrender
He said they repeatedly asked the soldiers to surrender but Galigaw and his companion, who were armed with pistols, fired instead, forcing rebels to fire back.
Sanchez said Galigaw’s mission order “confirmed his assignment under the Philippine Army’s Military Intelligence Battalion as an agent operating in Regions 10, 11, 12 and 13.”
“Text messages in Sgt. Galigaw’s cell phone revealed he was on his way to gather tactical information regarding the NPA’s most recent prisoner of war, Alfredo Basabica Jr., who was arrested in Cateel town [on] July 11,” Sanchez said.
In Bukidnon province, the NPA said two soldiers were killed after communist rebels ambushed a group belonging to the 2nd Special Forces Company of the 1st Special Forces Battalion in Kitaotao town on Saturday.
Sanchez said two soldiers, whom he did not identify, were killed and nine others were wounded in the attack.
In Quezon province, an Army soldier died in a clash with NPA rebels in Mauban town early on Monday, police said.
Senior Insp. Marian Rose Costas, Mauban police chief, said the soldiers, led by one Corporal Panadera, were on patrol when they clashed with at least seven NPA rebels in Sitio Bantigue in Barangay Cagsiay 2 at 5:25 a.m.
Costas said Cpl. Argel Joseph dela Cruz died in the 10-minute gunfight.
Police said some rebels could have been wounded as they saw bloodstains along the route they used to escape.
He said the soldiers, as a result of the clash, foiled an attempt of NPA rebels to attack a construction company engaged in building a section of the Real-Mauban Road.
Last week, six policemen and a civilian were killed in an ambush by NPA rebels in Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental province.
Peace negotiations between the government and communist rebels have again been stalled following accusations from both sides of continuing attacks.
On July 19, President Duterte canceled back-channel efforts aimed at reviving the peace talks after four members of the Presidential Security Group were wounded in a clash with NPA rebels in Arakan, North Cotabato province.
The fifth round of the peace talks was suspended on May 27 after the government panel withdrew in protest of an order by the Communist Party of the Philippines to the NPA to step up attacks against government troops. —Reports from Karlos Manlupig and Delfin T. Mallari Jr.
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