Troops foil NPA attack in Ilocos Sur

In this photo taken Nov. 23, 2016, members of the New People's Army communist rebels with face painted to conceal their identities, stand in formation during ceremonies before a news conference held at their guerrilla encampment tucked in the harsh wilderness. AP/File photo

Troops foil NPA attack in Ilocos Sur
Artemio Dumlao (Philstar.com) - July 24, 2017 - 6:30am

STA. CRUZ, Philippines — Soldiers claimed to have foiled an NPA attack in Ilocos Sur ahead of President Rodrigo Duterte’s State of the Nation Address.

Improvised explosive devices, at least 20 M14 assault rifle bullets, firearm cleaning gears, rebel documents and other personal effects were recovered from fleeing rebels after a 30-minute firefight Saturday morning in Salcedo town in Barangay Sorioan, Salcedo town, said Philippine Army’s 81st Infantry Battalion commander Lt. Col. Julio Osias.

Soldiers launched an operation early Saturday morning when they received a tip about a rebel plan to launch terror in the area.

“NPA rebels who are members of Platoon South Ilocos Sur (were) planning to conduct an attack to disrupt Monday’s SONA by planting an IED in a populated area in synchronization with a rally.” The said rally, the military commander said, was intended to show their dismay to the current administration.

The plan was to set off the IEDs in a populated area “to embarrass the president since President Duterte expressed that he does not want to talk with the National Democratic Front anymore and that he wants to launch military operations against the CPP-NPA-NDF,” added Osias.

At around 9:00 a.m. Saturday, at least 12 rebels fought with advancing troopers resulting into a running gun battle.

At least five soldiers were wounded slightly in Saturday’s firefight. Osias said they were informed by residents that a female rebel was reportedly killed and several others were wounded in Saturday’s initial firefight.

The fight between pursuing soldiers and the fleeing NPAs continues, Osias claimed.

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