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NPAs cart away high-powered firearms

- Jaime Laude () - November 4, 2009 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Members of the New People’s Army (NPA) posing as elements of the Army’s Special Forces (SF) raided an Army patrol base without firing a shot and carted away 18 high-powered firearms in Monkayo, Compostela Valley Monday night.

The raid on the patrol base of the 72nd Infantry Battalion in Barangay Casoon, Monkayo at 6:30 p.m. Monday was staged after the rebels snatched patrol base team leader Cpl. Dominador Alegre outside the camp’s perimeter.

In the company of Alegre whom they held hostage, the rebels all in SF uniforms entered the patrol base on the pretext of conducting an inspection, thereby catching all the militiamen offguard.

During the said “surprise inspection,” the Army outpost was fully manned by an 18-man strong force of the Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU).

Aside from Alegre who was taken by the rebels on their escape, the guerrillas also took off with two M16 rifles, an M14 rifle, five Carbines, 10 Garand rifles and one Icom radio.

Maj. Gen. Reynaldo Mapagu, commander of the 10th Infantry Division said that pursuit operations are now underway to rescue the abducted Army trooper.

“The local NPA terrorists abducted Cpl. Alegre. The terrorists who pretended to be SF troopers also took advantaged of All Souls’ Day when our CAFGU men were about to go out of the detachment unarmed to offer prayers to their departed relatives,” Mapagu said.

But despite what happened, Mapagu said the soldiers will continue dispensing their tasks and duties.

“The incident will not hamper our soldiers’ effort to protect our communities from any threat,” Mapagu said.

Compostela Valley, especially in Monkayo, a known mining site, is one of the key areas in Mindanao where communist guerrillas continue to have a strong presence.

Killed

Moreover, at least four suspected Abu Sayyaf militants were killed while two others were wounded in an encounter against the Marines and government militia troopers in a village of Tuburan, Basilan, according to the military here.

A soldier was also wounded during the firefight that erupted Tuesday dawn at the village of Bohe Lessem, Tuburan town, according to Brig. Gen. Eugene Clemen, commander of the 1st Marine Brigade based in Tabiawan, Isabela City, Basilan.

Clemen said the troops were on combat patrol following intelligence reports that a group of Abu Sayyaf bandits under a certain Ridwan Musa were monitored in the area.

He said civilian volunteer organization members guided the Marines to the area and encountered the Abu Sayyaf in close to 30 minutes of fierce firefight before the militants retreated with their casualties.

Four of the suspects died on the spot during the firefight while those wounded were dragged away as the Abu Sayyaf fled to the jungle.

The Abu Sayyaf group in Basilan splintered into factions following the Aug.12 military attack on its main training camp in Sitio Kurelem, Tipo-Tipo town. Government troops captured the camp and neutralized over 30 of the militants but suffered 23 casualties during the whole day offensive.

The military said the encounter Tuesday could be signs that the Abu Sayyaf were trying to regroup again.

Meanwhile, two soldiers were wounded when combined Abu Sayyaf and rogue rebels attacked the military observation post in the village of Indanan town, Sulu, according to the military here.

The attacking militants, however, suffered heavy casualties during the brief gunbattle Tuesday at Sitio Talatak, Barangay Bato-Bato, a known Abu Sayyaf training camp that was overrun by the military two months ago.  With Roel Pareño, Edith Regalado

ABU ABU SAYYAF ALEGRE ALL SOULS BARANGAY BATO-BATO BARANGAY CASOON BASILAN BOHE LESSEM MAPAGU MONKAYO SAYYAF
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