Guns, anti-personnel mine seized from NPA rebels in Agusan Norte

SEIZED FIREARMS. Three AK-47 rifles are among the war materiel seized by Army soldiers in a series of encounters with New People’s Army rebels in the hinterlands of Nasipit and Buenavista towns in Agusan del Norte on Sept. 4 and 6, 2021. The Army’s 23rd Infantry Battalion called on remaining NPA rebels in the area to surrender and avail of the programs and services of the government. (Photo courtesy of 23IB)

BUTUAN CITY – High-powered firearms were recovered in a series of encounters between government soldiers and communist New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in Agusan del Norte, the Army’s 23rd Infantry Battalion (23IB) reported Thursday.

Lt. Col. Julius Cesar C. Paulo, commander of 23IB, in a statement, said the series of encounters took place in Sitio Palo Dos, Barangay Jaguimitan, Nasipit on September 4, and Sitio Manawang, Barangay Guinabsan, Buenavista town on September 6.

About 15 NPA rebels belonging to the Dismantled Guerrilla Front 4A (DGF-4A) of the North Central Mindanao Regional Committee were engaged by soldiers on September 4 that resulted in the recovery of two backpacks, personal belongings, food containers, ammunitions, and a radio antenna.

In the second encounter, 23IB soldiers seized three AK47 rifles, two M203 grenade launchers, and one anti-personnel mine.

“We conducted the series of focused military operations in the said areas after receiving reports that the remnants of DGF-4A led by Jelan Pinakilid, alias Baking were disturbing the communities and threatening the residents,” Paulo said.

He added that residents complained of the continued extortion activities and confiscation of farm products by the remnants of DGF-4A.

The DGF-4A also suffered casualties as troops discovered heavy bloodstains in the escape routes of the rebels after the encounters.

“These remnants of DGF-4A have nowhere to go as the civilians themselves report to us their presence. These remaining insurgents continue to refuse the offer of the government to surrender peacefully and avail of the programs and services through the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program or ECLIP. With their persistent refusal to lay down their arms, the 23IB will unceasingly pursue them. The civilians are already supporting us,” Paulo said.

The DGF-4A was dismantled after several of its leaders and members were killed in a series of encounters in 2020.

The collapse, he said, is also attributed to the surrenders from among its underground mass supporters in 2020 until the middle of 2021.

The Communist Party of the Philippines – NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. (PNA)

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