The Eastern Mindanao Command announced that Monday’s series of clash in the hinterlands of Sitio Tugal, Barangay Datal Anggas, Alabel town, Sarangani has resulted in the death of six New People’s Army (NPA) fighters and captured of nine high-powered firearms, higher than the earlier reported five and six, respectively.
Lt. Col. Romeo Brawner, Eastern Mindanao Command spokesperson, said that two encounters took place between the troops of 73rd Infantry Battalion headed by 2nd Lt. Jerson F. Sanchez and NPA bandits in Alabel town.
The first skirmish transpired at about 8 a.m. Monday after soldiers, who were sent to check on the reported presence of armed bandits coercing an Indigenous People (IP) community, were fired upon by undetermined number of NPA bandits.
No casualties were reported during the initial encounter.
At about 3:30 p.m. of the same day, a 20-minute firefight ensued after the troops pursued the escaping NPAs.
During this encounter, six NPAs were killed, seven backpacks recovered and nine high powered firearms such as two AK 47 automatic rifles; one M-653; and six M-16 automatic rifles captured.
Lt. Gen. Aurelio Baladad, Eastern Mindanao Command head, shared the sentiments of the IPs who are always at the losing end of exploitation and coercion by NPA bandits.
“Our IP brothers are tired of these IP Rights violations, anti IP coercion and exploitation by NPA bandits so they called the government forces to help them put a stop on these. With their report, we were able to track them and stop the NPA in their crimes,” Baladad said.
“As human rights advocates, our security operations to protect the IP from the banditry of the NPAs are just part of the holistic approach to assist them in their quest for self-determination with the support of other stakeholders,” he said. PNA