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NPA teen member survives clash, surrenders to Army

An alleged teenage NPA member was rescued by the tribal bagani group in Barangay El Katipunan, Laak, Compostela Valley.

The said rebel was immediately brought to the satellite Balik-Loob Assistance Center of the 60th Infantry Battalion in Barangay Binucayan, Loreto, Agusan del Sur on Tuesday.

1Lt Amadeuz VJ Celestial, the Civil-Military Operations officer of the 60th IB, said alias James was wandering alone in El Katipunan when the tribal bagani group found him. They approached the teen because his face doesn’t look familiar and he appeared to be lost.

Upon checking on him, they realized that he sustained a gunshot wound.

James told the tribal bagani that he was a member of the Guerrilla Front 3 (WGF3) under the Sub-Regional Committee 4 of the NPA’s Southern Mindanao Regional Committee. The group encountered joint operating troops of the 60th Infantry Battalion and the 25th Infantry Battalion on Sunday, which saw two rebels killed.

He also confirmed that they were the same group the tribal bagani of Sta. Emilia, Laak, clashed with last Aug. 26.

James said he had been on the run since the encounter. He was wandering for three days without food or proper sleep. He realized that his only chance for survival is to surrender. He also led the soldiers to the area where he hid his M16 rifle.

His wounds were treated and was given food inside the Army headquarters.

Meanwhile, around 400 families evacuated from the different affected barangays of Loreto and Veruela, both of in Agusan del Sur and Laak of ComVal province.

Lt. Col. Gilbert Ombos, commander of the 60th Infantry Battalion, said the incident with the teen rebel, “while gruesome to some extent, gave us an opportunity to show that our government means business.”

“For those who wish to surrender so they can rejoin their families and start leading peaceful and productive lives, we assure them that they will be welcomed with open arms,” he said.

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