25-minute gunbattle leaves 1 NPA rebel dead

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GOVERNMENT security forces and Maoist rebels clashed anew in Bukidnon province that left one dead and undetermined number of casualties on the enemy side.

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Capt. Christian Uy, spokesman, Fourth Infantry Division, on Tuesday said the firefight erupted as government troopers were conducting security operations in the vicinity of Barangay Basak, Lantapan, Bukidnon following reports from civilians about the communist rebels’ extortion activities.

Uy said the NPAs were forcing innocent civilians and poor farmers to give in to their extortion demands and ideological political organization works.

According to Uy, some15 armed rebels that engaged elements of the Army’s Eighth Infantry Battalion were from Sandatahang Platoon Pampropaganda 2, Guerrilla Front-68 of North Central Mindanao Regional Committee operating in the hinter areas of Lantapan, Pangantucan, Baungon, Talakag
all of Kitanglad mountain range in Bukidnon.

“The firefight lasted for about 25 minutes, after which the enemy withdrew towards north direction,” Uy said adding that the rebels left behind their dead comrade and an AK-47 rifle.

Earlier, the communist rebels also engaged elements of the 39th IB in Barangay Managa in Bansalan, Davao del Sur that left 11 soldiers wounded.

The same rebel group was also responsible for a landmine attack on a convoy of ambulances that were supposed to pick up and evacuate the injured soldiers that left five volunteer members of the Davao del Sur Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council.

From 2010 to date, the AFP has recorded a total of 460 NPA-planted landmine explosions in Eastern Mindanao alone that resulted in the death of 128 people, wounded 340 others and destroyed millions of pesos worth of civilian properties and government facilities.

Government troops were also able to recover a total of 207 landmines in two separate operations in Agusan del Sur.

The use of landmine is prohibited under the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL).

The CARHRIHL is the first of four agreements in the substantive agenda of the formal talks between the government and the National Democratic Front that was signed on March 16, 1998 in Hague, The Netherlands.

The said agreement was approved by the NDF National Council and then President Joseph Estrada.

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