ZAMBOANGA CITY: Ten policemen were wounded in separate attacks by New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in Mindanao where government forces are battling communist and Muslim insurgents, officials said on Monday.
Security officials said the rebels also torched seven delivery trucks they intercepted on the highway in Quezon town in Bukidnon province. A group of policemen, who responded to the weekend attack, were ambushed by rebels and seven were injured in Pala-capao village.
They said dozens of rebels from Guerrilla Front 53 and Guerrilla Front 6 led by three commanders—Rachel Daguman, Reynante Tumbalang and Randy Bayot—led the daring attacks.
Col. Lennon Babilonia, commander of the 8th Infantry Battalion, said the operation against the NPA is continuing and that more troops have been dispatched on Monday to pursue the attackers.
“It is very clear that the ideologies that the NPA has been fighting for in their 46 years of armed struggle have waned. The incident proved once again that their ideologies are replaced already by mere acts of crime and extortion that victimize innocent civilians,” he said.
“They are never pro-people. They don’t want progress and denies every opportunity for people to develop so they can continue to blame the government and pretend that they are for the people. If they [NPA] are truly a force to reckon with, they should stop terrorizing helpless civilians and face the military instead,” he added.
General Oscar Lactao, commander of the 4th Infantry Division, also condemned the attacks and likened the NPA to Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan, who was killed by police commandos in Maguindanao province on January 25.
“This burning incident is a pure act of terrorism. The Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army attack civilian targets,” Lactao said.
The NPA, which is fighting for a separate state, also attacked patrolling policemen in Davao City’s Marilog district and wounded three of them. The rebels fled after the attack.
There was no immediate statement from the NPA about the two attacks, but the rebel group has previously warned of fresh offensive in the troubled region where security forces are also battling several Muslim rebel groups fighting for independence.