A few days after the postponement of the formal peace talks, government forces clashed with New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in Apayao on Monday afternoon — resulting in the seizure of a communist camp in Kabugao town.
Lt. Col. Isagani Nato, spokesman of the military’s Northern Luzon Command (Nolcom), said the firefight erupted at around 3 p.m. along Sitio Sibayan in Barangay Paco Valley.
Nato said that elements of the Army’s 50th Infantry Battalion (IB) chanced upon the NPA band while on a security patrol in the area.
“A meeting engagement initially ensued against more or less 15 CNTs (communist terrorists), which lasted for about 30 minutes,” Nato said.
He added that engaged troops immediately conducted pursuit operations while fresh troops were sent in the same area as augmentation.
“Another 10-minute encounter transpired between the reinforcing unit against eight withdrawing NPA rebels,” Natio said, adding the second firefight lasted for about 20 minutes.
During clearing and pursuit operations, the Army troops seized an NPA encampment in the area composed of two guard posts. It can accommodate 40 people.
Nato said the Army troops recovered equipment and personal belongings from the camp with high intelligence value, including some parts of customized bandoleers.
No casualty was reported on the government side.
On the other hand, Nato said that undetermined number of casualties were reported on the NPA side.
“Nolcom will continue to conduct focused military operations, with the support of the locals in the area, to prevent the NPA terrorists from doing hostile plans against our people and hampering the development in the community,” Nato said.