AFP ops leave six insurgents dead

CATBALOGAN CITY — The Armed Forces of the Philippines’ Joint Task Force Storm attacked a hideout of the New People’s Army recently which saw six members of the rebel group dead in a one-hour firefight in the hinterlands of Barangay Imelda, Las Navas, Northern Samar.

Initially found from the encounter site after the firefight were the bodies of six dead NPAs — a woman and five men — and 16 assorted firearms. None of the six remains has so far been identified.

The military said they are still scouring the area for possible more bodies and firearms that could have been carried by the fleeing rebels. The firefight started at around 5:30 in the morning.

Using technology to track down the enemy’s movement, the composite team from the Philippine Army, Air Force and Navy in Eastern Visayas, the AFP found the rebel’s lair in an uninhabited forestland within the tri-boundary of Northern Samar, Eastern Samar, and Samar Provinces.

AFP’s Joint Task Force Storm spokesperson Captain Ryan Layug said the troops were running after the group that attacked Dorillo village in the adjacent town of Jipapad, Eastern Samar last 7 October, 2022 that killed two soldiers who were monitoring government projects in the area.

The said attack in Jipapad town also wounded a 10-year-old civilian and two other soldiers, damaged 15 houses, barangay stage, communal toilet, and a newly constructed barangay hall.

Barangay Imelda is around 15 kilometers away from Barangay Dorillo.

Layug said that based on the accounts of former rebels who have surrendered to the AFP, the terrorist’s hideouts are surrounded by prohibited anti-personnel mines to annihilate soldiers that will attempt to attack them. It is a standard operating procedure of the terrorist CPP-NPA.

Initial reports revealed two platoons from the Division Reconnaissance Company and the 20th Infantry Battalion that were leading the attack were met by around 60 members of the NPA manning the camp that was believed to be the headquarters of the Eastern Visayas Regional Party Committee.

However, sensing of a strong resistance from a heavily fortified enemy position that was surrounded by APM, the soldiers requested for close air and indirect fire support.

Reports said air assets from the PAF responded immediately and provided close air support to engaged troops and delivered fires accurately and effectively to enemy’s locations.

JTF Storm and 8th Infantry Division commander Major General Camilo Ligayo said attacks against the NPA will continue government forces eradicate all remaining guerilla fronts and put an end to terrorism in the three provinces of Samar Island.

“We have been calling them to go home to their families, but these groups stand by their twisted ideology that killed tens of thousands of Filipinos for their almost 54 years of existence,” Ligayo said.

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