Army foils NPA attempt to overrun detachment in North Cotabato

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SUSPECTED communist rebels tossed a hand grenade at an Army base on Tuesday night in an effort to get back at the government forces, the Army here said.

1st Lieutenant Nashrullah Sema, speaking for the 57th Infantry Battalion, said the 9 p.m. grenade attack could be part of retaliatory offensive by the New Peoples Army (NPA) Far South Front 72 command following their defeat in skirmishes in Magpet, North Cotabato.

Nobody was hurt in the attack.

Sema said the grenade attack was aimed at taking over the Army detachment but the guerillas failed as the Army was prepared.

The Magpet encounter over the weekend led to the seizing by government forces of an NPA training camp in Barangay Manobo.

Sema said a Suzuki multi-cab passed by the Army detachment located along the highway in Barangay Poblacion and one of its passengers hurled the MK-72 fragmentation grenade toward the roadside detachment.

The blast caused minor damages to the heavily fortified detachment located at the sentry of the 57th IB headquarters.

Sema said the most likely perpetrators were members of the NPA who have suffered heavy losses in various skirmishes in North Cotabato and Davao del Sur.

Earlier, a lady NPA spokesperson publicly announced that the NPA will continue its offensive against government forces in North Cotabato as it accused the Army of violating human rights.

But Sema said the civilians whom the NPA vowed to protect are now turning their backs against the rebel movement because of their own atrocities to civilian populace by extorting money from farmers.

Sema said the Army did not immediately conducted pursuit operations against the grenade thrower as part of its reactionary movement to avoid booby traps or landmines which could have been planted by the rebels.

Sema appealed to the general public to continue cooperating with government law enforcement to defeat lawless elements that continue to harass and mulct civilians. PNA

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