Tuesday Feb, 18 2020 11:29:15 PM

Army anticipating for NPA retaliations

Peace and Order • 06:45 AM Fri Jan 10, 2020
John M. Unson
Recovered by soldiers in the encounter scene. (Army photo)

NORTH COTABATO --- The military is bracing for retaliations by the New People’s Army following an encounter Wednesday that left four NPAs wounded.

The gunfight erupted when the NPAs fired at members of the Army’s 7th Infantry Battalion dispatched to Sitio Pahidlat in Barangay Latagan in Matalam, North Cotabato to check on the reported presence of gunmen collecting “protection money” from hapless villagers.

Community leaders told reporters the NPAs scampered away when they ran out of ammunition carrying four wounded companions, two of them adolescents named Ruben and Nognog.

The two underage rebels are from an indigenous highland community at the border of North Cotabato’s Matalam and Magpet towns, according to local leaders.

Major Gen. Diosdado Carreon, commander of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, said Friday the 7th IB will tighten security in interior areas in Matalam to preclude intrusions by NPAs.

“We in the 6th ID are thankful to the local communities for providing information each time the rebels get close to these agricultural areas,” Carreon said.

The NPAs in North Cotabato’s upland areas have lately been coming down to municipalities in the lowlands to collect food and money from farmers after local government units and barangay leaders declared them “persona non grata” for interfering in the affairs of barangay governments and extortion activities.

The NPAs in the province also have a reputation for attacking villagers on mere suspicion of conniving with the police and military.

Soldiers who figured in Wednesday’s encounter in Sitio Pahidlat seized a motorcycle, a .45 caliber pistol, mobile phones, components of improvised explosive devices and other personal belongings that they left as they fled in haste.

The phones the soldiers confiscated contained copies of messages to local traders warning of IED attacks if they refuse to shell out money on periodic basis. 


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