MAGPET, North Cotabato: military here has deployed more troops and additional buffer force to contain abuses by communist guerrillas, an Army colonel Friday said.
Colonel Nilo Vinluan, chief of the 57th Infantry Battalion, said a wounded New Peoples Army (NPA) commander is being kept by his men in the hinterlands of Magpet, North Cotabato.
“That is why they have been massing in the area and while there they collect revolutionary taxes from farmers,” Vinluan said.
Vinluan said his men are still pursuing about 100 NPA guerrillas in the borders of Magpet and Arakan, both in North Cotabato, known bailiwick of communist rebels operating near the country’s highest peak.
Vinluan said the rebels were the same group who attacked in May the police headquarters in President Roxas, also in North Cotabato.
“They are there, they are making noise, we will continue running after them,” Vinluan told reporters.
Three policemen belong to the quick reaction team of the North Cotabato police office were hurt when a roadside bomb set off by NPAs in Barangay Bagumbayan, Magpet.
The police were responding to reports the NPAs are massing in Barangay Bagumbayan. A 30-minute fire fight ensued and the rebels fled to the hinterlands of Magpet.
Meanwhile, police here released seven persons invited for questioning after they were sighted near the spot where a roadside bomb went off and wounded three policemen.
Inspector Raelan Mamon, Magpet police chief, said the seven suspects were also seen close to the spot where suspected NPA rebels clashed with government forces in sitio (sub-village) Natutungan and Bagumbayan.
The suspects, James Villareal, Ibrahim Bintayao, 48; Gloria Bintayao, 47; Jovannie Andaya, 23; Richard Icling, 39; Jesreal Andaya, 20; and Jerwin Andaya, 19 all residents of Purok Singko, Barangay Noa, Magpet, North Cotabato.
Vinluan said they were invited, not arrested, to shed light on their suspicious presence in the area.Mamon said they were negative of powder burns.
Police responded to reports that the NPA were forcing villagers to pay revolutionary taxes. Two bombs were set off by the guerrillas that wounded three cops.
Vinluan and Mamon could not say whether the rebels also suffered fatalities. PNA