Army clashes with rebels in MisOr

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CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – Government troops have engaged the New People’s Army (NPA) in Barangay Mantangale, Balingoan town, Misamis Oriental on March 1, authorities said Tuesday.

During the encounter, a female NPA fighter was killed, police said.

A report from the Misamis Oriental provincial police said soldiers from the Army’s 58th Infantry Battalion (58IB) exchanged gunfire with a unit of the NPA in Sitio Kibuntod, Barangay Mantangale.

The military said the NPA fighters belonged to the Platoon Falcon of the Sub-Regional Committee operating in North Central Mindanao.

Firearms and other items were found by soldiers who engaged the NPA unit.

Maj. Christian Relevo, Misamis Oriental provincial police spokesperson, said that based on the information they have gathered, the Communist rebels were in the area to solicit food and money from the residents and establishments.

“There were a series of sightings prompting the police and military to act on these reports on the ground,” he said, adding that civilians have been in contact with government forces on the presence of the NPA.

The 58IB said its troops and soldiers from the 42nd Division Reconnaissance Company clashed with about 30 NPA fighters, although it has yet to identify the female combatant casualty.

“The female cadaver’s identity is withheld prior informing her family,” said 1Lt. Jefferson Mariano, 58IB civil military operation officer.

He said the responding soldiers found the dead woman, who was abandoned by her comrades at the encounter site.

Also found at the site were two M16 rifles, three magazines for AK47 rifle, four magazines for M14 rifle, three rifle grenade, two Signus radios, three cellular phones, three solar panels, assorted medicines, personal belongings, 18 backpacks and documents.

In a statement, Lt. Col. Ricky Canatoy, 58IB commanding officer, has appealed to the remaining Communist insurgents operating in the area to lay down their arms.

“I truly hope that more and more NPA rebels will surrender now and stop adhering to the lies and deceptions put inside their heads. Do this for the sake of your life and to avoid this unfortunate death,” Canatoy said.

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