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NPA attacks troops in ComVal, Davao

AN hour before the government-declared ceasefire ended on Tuesday, communist New People's Army (NPA) members harassed several areas in Eastern Mindanao, triggering firefights with soldiers, the military reported on Thursday.

Capt. Jerry Son Lamosao, spokesman for the Army's 10th Infantry Division (10th ID), said the first attack happened at 6:40 p.m. at Barangay Cabuyoan, Mabini, in Compostela Valley where about six NPA rebels harassed a village detachment.

Lamosao said the rebels were about 200 meters away from the detachment.

"Firefight lasted for about 15 minutes. After which, the enemies withdrew toward unknown direction," he said in a report sent to reporters, adding there was no casualty on the government side but an "undetermined" number on the side of the NPA.

Another incident took place at Barangay Marayag, Lupon town, in Davao Oriental where about seven rebels also harassed a civilian patrol base at about 9:20 p.m., also on Tuesday.

Maj. Ezra Balagtey, spokesman for the military's Eastern Mindanao Command, said a three-minute exchange of fire happened with no casualties recorded on both sides.

At about 10:40 p.m., suspected NPA rebels planted an improvised explosive device some 15 meters away from the military's Calopogon detachment in Compostela Valley.

Lamosao said the explosion resulted in the wounding of one militiaman identified as Jerick Ciel Eday.

He added that there was an undetermined number of casualties on the side of the communist fighters.

Eday was brought to Montevista Provincial Hospital while troops from the 72nd Infantry Battalion (IB) conducted clearing operations at Sitio Calapogon in Barangay Maparat.

Maj. Gen. Noel Clement, 10th ID commander, said they strongly condemn atrocities committed by the NPA rebels while the truce was in effect.

"These incidents show that the NPA is not sincere in ending this insurgency problem. It's about time the people unite against them so that we will have peace and development in our communities," Clement added in a statement.

First incident

Maj. Gen. Raul Farnacio, commander of the Samar-based 8th ID, said in a separate report that troops from the 78th IB encountered about 20 communist fighters at Barangay Hilapnitan in Baybay City, Leyte.

He added that a firefight ensued that lasted for almost an hour, killing two rebels.

An M16 rifle and an M653 rifle were recovered from the rebels.

No casualty was reported on the government side.

According to Farnacio, military forces in the area were conducting pursuit operations against the communist rebels.

Last December, President Rodrigo Duterte set the schedules of the Christmas and New Year ceasefires to be observed by the Armed Forces of the Philippines-from December 23 at 6 p.m. until December 26 at 11:59 p.m., and from December 30 at 6 p.m. until January 2 at 11:59 p.m.

On Christmas Day, while the first set of ceasefire dates was in effect, two attacks were reported also by the 10th ID in Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley.

[Source: The Manila Times, Manila, 04Jan18]

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