NPA reports 5 gov’t troopers killed, 2 captured in Southern Mindanao

THE New People’s Army (NPA) in Southern Mindanao announced it has killed five Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) soldiers and captured two auxiliary troopers in three separate incidents last February 14.

Rigoberto Sanchez, NPA-Southern Mindanao Regional Operations Command spokesperson, said a company of Red fighters of their Compostela Valley–Davao Gulf Sub-Regional Operations Command fended off an attack of a scout platoon of the 28th Infantry Battallion-Philippine Army (IBPA) in Brgy. New Visayas, Lupon, Davao Oriental province.

“Five AFP troopers were confirmed killed while several others were wounded,” Sanchez said.

A few hours later, at a mobile checkpoint mounted by another (NPA) company in Brgy. Don Mariano Marcos of the same town, two members of the 72nd IB-CAFGU (Civilian Auxiliary Force Geographical Unit) were captured at around 11:00 in the morning, the NPA reported.

“Rene Doller, 34, and Carl Mark Nucos, 24, both of the 72 IB-CAFGU were taken as prisoners-of-war. Their .45-caliber pistol was also confiscated,” Sanchez said.

The NPA spokesperson said the two are being treated leniently and are currently being investigated for “possible crimes against the people and the revolutionary movement due to their involvement in their unit’s counterinsurgency operations.”

The 10th IDPA, however, said they suffered no casualties in the Lupon clash.

“No soldier was hurt while blood stains were visibly seen indicating that the NPA suffered casualties,” the 10th IDPA statement said.

It also said Doller was “abducted” by the NPA.

In Bukidnon province, the joint operation mounted by the 72nd CAFGU and paramilitary Alamara was also hit by Red fighters under the Davao City–Bukidnon Sub-Regional Operations Command at around 9:00 in the morning in Brgy. Matupi, Kitaotao.

Sanchez said the 10th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army (IDPA) has deployed almost all of its combat troops in at least 26 towns in all the provinces of Southern Mindanao following the Rodrigo Duterte government’s all-out war declaration against their forces.

“It foolishly believes that unleashing fascist war against the revolutionary forces—even an all-out one—can accomplish what all the other internal and security plans in the past have failed to do,” Sanchez said.

“Spread thin and wide, however, its isolated troops only become vulnerable targets of military actions by the NPA in guerilla bases and zones where the masses loathe the AFP and want them punished for their numerous crimes against the people,” he added. (Raymund B. Villanueva)