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Soldiers, Reds clash as ceasefire ends

(The Philippine Star) - January 21, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Government troops and New People’s Army (NPA) rebels engaged in a shootout in Camarines Norte yesterday, hours after the end of a month-long suspension of military operations.

No fatalities were reported on either side.

Armed Forces Southern Luzon Command spokesman Maj. Angelo Guzman said the fighting occurred at Barangay Scout Fuentebella in Goa town at 10:35 a.m. 

The troops are still conducting clearing and pursuit operations, according to Col. Amador Tabuga, Army’s 902nd brigade commander.

They recovered an M16 rifle, a rifle grenade, an improvised explosive device and three backpacks from the scene.

The NPA said the government ceasefire was a farce.

Soldiers occupied several parts of Davao City, Compostela Valley, Davao Oriental, Cotabato and Agusan del Sur during the truce, according to the National Democratic Front (NDF)’s Mindanao chapter.

Its spokesman Jorge Madlos said the presence of troops in these areas constituted actual offensive maneuvers within and in the periphery of NPA territories.

“Their blatant occupation of civilian areas while supposedly in suspended military operations is highly  provocative and increases the risk of armed engagements with the Red fighters amid civilian-populated areas,” he said.

Maj. Ezra Balagtey, Armed Forces Eastern Mindanao Command spokesman, said the NPA planted a landmine and deployed snipers along the San Isidro-Mahaba Road in Surigao del Norte on Dec. 26.

The NPA violated its own truce when it harassed a patrol base in Lupon, Davao Oriental on Jan. 18, Balagtey said.

The ceasefire between the government and communist rebels ended at midnight yesterday. – Alexis Romero, Edith Regalado

ALEXIS ROMERO AMADOR TABUGA ANGELO GUZMAN ARMED FORCES EASTERN MINDANAO COMMAND ARMED FORCES SOUTHERN LUZON COMMAND BARANGAY SCOUT FUENTEBELLA CAMARINES NORTE COMPOSTELA VALLEY COTABATO AND AGUSAN DAVAO CITY DAVAO ORIENTAL
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