Philippines

Marines hunt down NPAs in Sultan Kudarat ambush

Marines hunt down NPAs in Sultan Kudarat ambush
By Edwin Fernandez

CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao (Philippines News Agency) — The military, backed by police, has launched a manhunt against communist rebels who ambushed government forces in Kalamansig, Sultan Kudarat on Thursday morning.

Major. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, commander of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division (6ID), said two soldiers of the 2nd Marine Battalion Landing Team (MBLT-2), were slightly injured in the 8:30 a.m. ambush in Sitio Ugangawon, Barangay Datu Ito Andong of Kalamansig town.

“The ambush displayed the New People’s Army’s (NPA) insincerity in talking peace with the Duterte administration,” Sobejana said.

The Marines are working under the area of responsibility of the 6ID in Sultan Kudarat with the two injured soldiers being part of the Marine unit conducting a patrol in Barangay Datu Ito Andong.

Sobejana, citing reports from MBLT-2 of the 1st Marine Brigade based in Kalamansig, said the Marines were on board a KM-450 military truck passing by Sitio Ugangawon, Barangay Datu Ito when an anti-personnel mine exploded.

The blast was followed by a series of gun bursts from communist rebels positioned at an elevated portion of the highway. As the Marines returned fire, the terrorists quickly fled deep into the forest.

A follow-up operation led to the recovery of an anti-personnel mine at the blast site.

Sobejana, also chief of the military-led Task Force Central, has directed troops to intensify operations against NPA rebels who repeatedly tried to harass government forces.

Recently, the rebels torched several heavy equipment of a construction firm on road projects in Barangay Hinalaan, Kalamansig, for refusal to pay revolutionary taxes. Destruction of civilian-owned equipment has nothing to do with AFP operations.

“These terrorist acts must be stopped, the military will not allow this to continue,” Sobejana said.

The US and EU have declared the CPP-NPA as a terrorist group. (PNA)

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