Two suspected New People’s Army guerillas were believed killed yesterday, during the seizure of a rebel camp in Brgy. Buenavista, Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental.
Brig. Gen. Benedict Arevalo, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, said the 30 minutes of running gunbattle between troopers of the 31st Division Reconnaissance Company in Sitio Bugo of the barangay, ensued after 62nd Infantry Battalion soldiers discovered and seized a rebel camp in the neighboring Sitio Ulitao in the same barangay Saturday.
Arevalo said the fleeing rebels are believed to have suffered two casualties, based on testimonies of residents in the area. They also left behind trip wires of anti-personnel mines, 45 ammunition of an M16 assault rifle, a back pack, hammock, poncho, assorted medicines and personal belongings, two NPA sweat shirts, a wallet, three pairs of rain boots and four pairs of rubber shoes.
He said the newly-abandoned rebel camp can accommodate two platoons of NPA rebels.
The encounter and seizure of the rebel camp came after 94th Infantry Battalion soldiers also figured in armed skirmishes with 20 NPA rebels earlier in Brgy. Bantulinao, Manjuyod, Negros Oriental, that also resulted in casualties of some rebels and the recovery of war materials, including an anti-personnel mine.
Arevalo said he believes that those encountered by Army soldiers in Manjuyod town and Himamaylan City are affiliated to the same group, that had crossed the boundary of two provinces to escape continuing military operations.
He said the clash with armed rebels in Himamaylan City was the third government initiated encounter, and the 15th armed engagement with lawless group by units of the 303rd Infantry Brigade since the start of the year.
Arevalo acknowledged the motivation of Brig. Gen. Eric Vinoya, newly-designated Joint Task Force-Negros commander, that boosted the morale of troops in Negros.
Vinoya earlier said that they will hit the communist rebels hard if they will not surrender, and warned them to expect more combat encounters in the next few weeks.
“To save your life, you (communist rebels) still have a chance to leave the armed movement and go back to the folds of the law and enjoy the true freedom and basic services of the government together with your loved ones,” he said.*
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