An alleged leader of the New People’s Army (NPA) was killed while a minor was rescued when skirmishes erupted between soldiers of the 29th Infantry Battalion and communist guerrillas in Surigao del Norte and Agusan del Norte on April 19 and 20.
Also, three NPAs were captured.
Lt Col. Ezra Balagtey, the spokesperson of Eastern Mindanao Command, said the slain rebel was Kevin Caballero alias Banjo, a known vice leader of the NPA. He also said that three other rebels were captured.
On Monday morning, elements of the 29th IB clashed with a group of NPA in Barangay Bangayan, Kitcharao, Agusan Del Norte during a hot pursuit operation. They recovered an M4 rifle with an attached M203 grenade launcher, subversive documents, and one landmine switch kit.
The pursuit came after elements of the same unit encountered more or less 20 NPAs at 5:30 a.m. of the same day in Barangay Bangayan, which resulted in the discovery of an NPA hideout, the capture of three suspected NPA members, and the rescue of a nine-year-old boy.
Another 15-minute skirmish followed at about 3 p.m. as the troops conducted a clearing operation, which led to the seizure of one AK-47 rifle.
The killed NPA was identified by a former rebel.
Meanwhile, the rescued minor was also turned over to the Municipal Social Welfare and Development as mandated by Republic Act 11188 or the “Special Protection of Children Situation in Armed Conflict.”
In a separate instance, the troops of the 30th Infantry Battalion, while conducting security operations, encountered an undetermined number of NPAs in Sitio Katikuyan, Barangay Camam-onan, Gigaquit, Surigao del Norte at about 2:35 p.m. on April 19.
The 30-minute firefight forced the NPAs to withdraw, leaving behind 12 backpacks with personal belongings, several live ammunition, anti-personnel mine, 50-meter electrical wire, seven jungle hammocks, 12 poncho tents, and several subversive documents.