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Northern Samar clash results in the demise of 1 NPA member and the seizure of firearms

By Sarwell Meniano

In Tacloban City, a sequence of confrontations between military personnel and the New People’s Army (NPA) erupted on Tuesday within the upland village of Bagacay, Palapag, Northern Samar. The skirmishes resulted in the demise of a rebel and the confiscation of three high-powered firearms.

According to the Philippine Army’s 8th Infantry Division, government forces discovered the body of an unidentified deceased NPA fighter following several armed engagements in the vicinity.

Soldiers also found a banned anti-personnel mine, medical paraphernalia, subversive documents, and other war materials.

Capt. Jefferson Mariano, spokesperson for the Army’s 8th Infantry Division, said clearing efforts are still ongoing as troops on the ground have seen heavy bloodstain along their route of withdrawal, indicating that rebels suffered heavy casualties.

Mariano said the troops clashed with about 30 NPA members who belonged to the sub-regional guerilla unit and remnants of the dismantled front committee 15 of the Eastern Visayas regional party committee led by a certain Marchu Ocson, a notorious rebel leader in Northern Samar.

“The terrorist hideouts were heavily fortified and surrounded by international humanitarian law banned anti-personnel mines that prompted the troops to call for close air support and artillery support,” he added.

Soldiers launched the joint operation acting on tips from a concerned resident that a group of armed men were seen passing through the outskirts of their village.

In a statement, Major Gen. Camilo Ligayo, commander of the Army’s 8th Infantry Division, said the success of the operation was made possible through the government’s efforts to protect the villages from the NPA’s recovery efforts, extortion, and intimidation.

“This is our strong response to the wishes of our people to free them from the continuous threats of the NPA terrorists. We will not rest; we will continue to hunt the communist terrorist group anywhere, anytime. What the NPA can do now and the option left for them is to lay down their firearms and go home to their families,” Ligayo said.

The NPA unit is known for numerous atrocities in Northern Samar, such as ambuscades, extortions and killings. Their leader and members have multiple warrants of arrest for murder and attempted murder. (PNA)

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