COTABATO CITY: Police and military forces are now hunting down suspected communist guerillas who torched three heavy equipment of a construction firm in a hinterland barangay of Kidapawan City Sunday night.
The rebels fled bringing with them a village watchman who, as of posting, remained missing.
Colonel Nilo Vinluan, commander of the Army’s 57th Infantry Battalion, said the attack happened at about 12 midnight.
It came about seven hours after New Peoples Army set off a series of land mines along a dirt road in the village of Balite in Magpet, North Cotabato that left two soldiers slightly wounded.
Acer Perez, chairperson of Barangay Mua-an here, told Radyo Bida Kidapawan that about a dozen heavily armed men on board six motorcycles arrived at the village at about 11:30 p.m.
They then poured gallons of gasoline on the equipment and set them on fire. As the equipment went ablaze, the NPAs fired their guns, chanting NPA slogans.
According to Perez the rebels then fled and seized a “tanod” (watchman) identified as Tata Cardion after the gunmen stripped him with his 12-gauge shot gun. He remained missing.
The heavy equipment were owned by the Jargon Construction Company constructing road project in the village.
The torching incident came just few hours after suspected NPA rebels staged landmine attacks against personnel of the 57th Infantry Battalion.
Army Capt. Nasrullah Sema and his escort, PFC Camia, were slightly wounded.
Vinluan clarified Sema was hit on his foot, not by bomb shrapnel, but due to an accident as he tried to jump from his motorcycle to cover from the blast. He is now out of danger, the 57th IB commander said.
Vinluan said the attack against soldiers were part of the NPA’s opposition to the peace and development outreach program of the military while the burning of construction firm heavy equipment was part of the extortion activities of the rebels. PNA