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2 slain in Army-NPA clash

Two members of the New People’s Army (NPA) were killed in a series of encounters in Sitio Mahayon-Hayon, Barangay Guibonon, Esperanza, Agusan Del Sur on April 30.

Lt. Col. Ezra Balagtey, spokesperson of EastMinCom, said the two bodies were left behind by their comrades while trying to escape from the 26th IB soldiers.

The first clash transpired on Thursday afternoon when soldiers responded to a report regarding the presence of an undetermined number of NPAs in the said area. It resulted in a seven-minute skirmish that wounded SSg. Joseph E. Hulibayan, who led the patrol.

However, despite the injury, Hulibayan led the pursuit and re-engaged the fleeing NPAs at about 10:30 p.m.

The 20-minute exchange of gunfire caused the NPAs to scamper to different directions leaving behind the two bodies. The troops also seized two M16 rifles, one AK-47 rifle, bandoliers, magazines, and ammunition.

The bodies were turned over to the local government of Esperanza for identification.

In a separate instance, patroling members of the 39th IB and Civilian Active Auxiliary (CAA) figured in a series of encounters against an undetermined number of NPAs in Barangay Tuburan, Tulunan, Cotabato on April 30.

There was no casualty reported on both sides.

Maj. Gen. Jose C. Faustino Jr., commander of Eastern Mindanao Command, directed the units to intensify their security operations.

“Let us continue with our relentless operations to deny the terrorists the opportunity to carry out coercion and intimidation so that the communities can continuously cope with the crisis brought about by COVID-19,” the EastMinCom commander said.

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