6 dead in Cotabato, ComVal clashes | Inquirer News
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6 dead in Cotabato, ComVal clashes

Firefights break out as NPA rebels attack gov’t detachment, village
/ 05:17 AM January 23, 2018

In Albay province, members of the New People’s Army surrender and turn over their guns to military officials in Daraga town. —MARK ALVIC ESPLANA

KIDAPAWAN CITY—At least six were killed as clashes erupted anew between soldiers and communist rebels in North Cotabato and Compostela Valley provinces on Monday and Saturday, police and military reports said.

The clashes broke out as the military launched renewed combat operations against rebels in the wake of President Duterte’s proclamation that tagged the New People’s Army (NPA) as a terror organization.

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Chief Insp. John Felongco Medel, police chief of Makilala town, North Cotabato, said a militiaman and three NPA rebels were killed in the clash that erupted early Monday in a remote village there.

Attack

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In a radio interview, Medel said the firefight started when an undetermined number of NPA rebels attacked an Army and militia detachment at Sitio Garing in Barangay Luayon, Makilala, at 12:45 a.m.

The attack, he said, triggered an hourlong exchange of gunfire that left a militiaman dead and five other paramilitary troopers wounded.

The bodies of the slain NPA rebels were recovered by members of the 39th Infantry Battalion (IB) in nearby villages, where the rebels fled, according to Medel.

In Compostela Valley, two NPA rebels were killed while a soldier was wounded during a clash in New Bataan town on Saturday, the military said.

Soldiers under the 66th IB were responding to reports of an attack in Sitio Tadia, Barangay Bantacan, when they clashed with the rebels, numbering about 30, around 8:56 a.m. on Saturday.

High-powered guns

Lt. Col. Palmer Parungao, the 66th IB commander, said the bodies of the slain rebels had been recovered, along with five high-powered firearms, nine improvised explosive devices (IED), two binoculars, a rifle grenade, electrical wires and blasting paraphernalia.

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Also recovered, Parungao said, were five mobile phones, a handheld radio, medical kits, personal belongings, food and antigovernment documents.

On Jan. 12, soldiers also clashed with communist rebels in Magsaysay town, Davao del Sur province. —EDWIN FERNANDEZ, WITH REPORTS FROM FRINSTON LIM AND ELDIE AGUIRRE

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