Two alleged communist rebels were killed in a series of encounters with government troops in Sitio Union, Barangay Binucayan, Loreto, Agusan del Sur on Sunday.
1Lt Amadeuz VJ Celestial, the Civil-Military Operations officer of 60th Infantry Battalion, said at least two bodies of suspected members of the Guerilla Front 3, under the NPA’s Sub-regional Committee 4, Southern Mindanao Command, were recovered at the encounter site.
One body was discovered after two hours of sporadic fighting on Sunday morning. They also recovered an M16 rifle, a 15-kilo improvised explosive device, and other subversive materials.
The second NPA killed, meanwhile, was recovered after a second firefight on Sunday afternoon between the troops of the 25th Infantry Battalion and the fleeing members of the same communist group.
An M16 rifle and some personal belongings, including some CPP-NPA uniforms were also recovered after the government troops scoured the area.
He said the troops also found a rifle grenade, 100 meters of IED detonating cord, several magazines and ammunition, and freshly cooked food.
Meanwhile, at least 220 families from Sitio Union and other nearby villages have been forced to vacate their homes due to the armed hostilities.
Loreto Mayor Lorife Magadan-Otaza directed the local government agencies to provide food, blankets, sleeping mats, and other basic necessities to the evacuees. Otaza, during a community assembly Sunday afternoon, assured the residents that the LGU will continue to assist them in times of conflict.
The identities of the killed men are still being confirmed as of this report.
Brig. Gen. Gilbert Saret, 1001st Infantry Brigade commander, expressed his sympathies to the killed rebels. He said they don’t take any “pride nor joy in killing our countrymen.”
“They have been blinded by the false promises and terroristic ideologies of the CPP-NPA. They are victims just as much as those innocent civilians caught in the crossfires are,” he said. “Therefore, we continue to call on them to surrender. Our troops on the ground means business,” Saret added.