By PNA and U.S. News Agency / Asian
Three suspected New People’s Army (NPA) members were arrested by the military blocking force in Purok 7, Barangay Mabuhay, Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur after government soldiers from the 401st Infantry Brigade encountered five rebels around 7:50 a.m. today, Tuesday.
A military report claimed the firefight between soldiers and NPA rebels belonging to Guerilla Front 19A of the North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee lasted for five minutes.
The military also said the communist rebels withdrew to the western direction.
As they withdrew, operatives from the 29th Infantry Battalion under Lt. Col. Virgilio Luna ordered the conduct of blocking operations, during which soldiers discovered a cluster of four makeshift huts along the way in Purok 7, Barangay Mabuhay, Prosperidad town.
After scouring the area, the operating troops found out that one hut was abandoned while the other three were being occupied by three persons, all males and of legal age, believed to be Militia ng Bayan Members.
The military report also said the 29th IB troopers also found in one of the huts firearms and materials namely; one Thompson submachine gun with magazine and 20 ammunition, one homemade shotgun, one long whip antenna for Harris Radio and 10 sets of unused AAA batteries.
Based on the initial interview made with the three apprehended and suspected MB members, it was found out that one of them is one of the leaders of the Sangay ng Partido Lokal and is responsible for the conduct of enemy recruitment and mass works in the locality.
Proper filing of cases against the three individuals is now being made by the 29IB in cooperation with the local PNP unit in the area.
Col. Romeo G. Gan, commander of the 401st Infantry Brigade, thanked informant civilians and ordered his troops to observe and honor the International Humanitarian Law.
“We recognize that all persons considered as hors de combat or those declared out of combat and are no longer bearing arms must be treated fairly and humanely and must be given proper medical assistance or attention,” Gan said.
Lt. Col. Luna, for his part, urged residents in the barangays to continue cooperating and working with the authorities and to give timely and relevant information that would help soldiers in the mission of clearing communities of any enemy threat so that true and lasting peace could be achieved.