5 bombs, 3 firearms recovered as troops clash with abductors
by Cpt. Emmanuel Garcia
Camp Apolinario, Panacan, Davao City (20 May) -- A total of five Improvised Explosives Devices (IED) and three high powered firearms were recovered by government troops in two separate incidents in Davao region involving the New People's Army (NPA).
Elite soldiers from the 6th Scout Ranger Company on a mission to rescue four government troops abducted by NPAs clashed with about 40 armed abductors belonging to Local Terrorist Front-2 led by alias Benjie in the village of Panangan in Maco town in Compostela (ComVal) province 10:00 AM Tuesday. Soldiers were able to overrun an NPA encampment and recovered four IEDs, two M16 assault rifles and one M14 rifle following the clash.
No casualty was reported on government troops while the NPAs suffered atleast four according to revelations of civilians they passed by. "We saw some wounded NPAs and they were also carrying four men. We don't know if they were dead," said one civilian speaking in vernacular.
Maj. Gen. Carlos Holganza, commander of the Army's 10th Infantry Division said that the rescue operation will continue. "We cannot and we will not leave our comrades in the hands of terrorists. We will do all we can to bring them back to their families who at present are suffering due to the criminal acts of the NPA. The NPA must follow the clamor of the people to free their hostages and cease from doing unlawful and violent acts," Holganza said.
"If there were wounded on their part, we hope that it is not fatal and that they may be given appropriate medical attention. A life lost either by the NPA or by government troops is a life lost by the Filipino people. If they think they cannot attend to their wounded, we are willing to extend help. It is better to surrender their wounded so that they may be given proper medical attention than letting them die in the mountains, Holganza added.
It may be recalled that three soldiers and a Cafgu member were abducted in Mawab town a week ago while attending a birthday party of a three-year old son of one of the victims. The pleading wife and crying children of one of the victims did not deter the terrorists from mauling him infront of his family and poking guns at him and the rest of the victims.
Meanwhile, another IED was recovered by troops of the 69th Infantry Battalion in the village of Mapula in Paquibato District in Davao City 7:00 AM on the same day.
Authorities attribute the discovery of the IED to the vigilance of residents who informed soldiers on an object planted along the road which they suspect to be a bomb due to protruding wires.
"The recovery of these IEDs is a welcome development as our people will be a lot safer from harm brought by bombs planted by NPAs on the roadside," said Maj. Gen. Holganza.
The recovery of five bombs pegs the record to 23 IEDs recovered by troops in Region 11 for this year alone.
In 2009, 11 IEDs were blown by NPAs in Davao region killing 10 government troops and a civilian while wounding another 28 government troops and two unarmed civilians. (10th ID PA Public Affairs Office) [top]