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Wednesday, Apr. 11, 2007 at 12:26 PM
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Media sources today reported that three Army men, including a second lieutenant, were killed while five others are still undergoing strenuous medical treatment after a landmine believed to be planted by New People’s Army (NPA) rebels, exploded while they were in the thick of pursuit operations for still undetermined number of fully-armed rebels in a communist-infested central Isabela town on Sunday.
NPA Ambush in Isabela kills three soldiers, injures five others
Manila—Media sources today reported that three Army men, including a second lieutenant, were killed while five others are still undergoing strenuous medical treatment after a landmine believed to be planted by New People’s Army (NPA) rebels, exploded while they were in the thick of pursuit operations for still undetermined number of fully-armed rebels in a communist-infested central Isabela town on Sunday.
Major Gen. Rodrigo Maclang, commanding general of the Army’s 5th Infantry Division (ID) based in this province, said his men belonging to the 45th Infantry Battalion under 2nd Lt. Frederick Nobleza had been chasing a sizeable number of suspected NPA rebels in the remote boundary of Barangays Balagan and Macayucayu in San Mariano, Isabela when one of the government troops came across a landmine planted in the area.
This resulted in the instant death of Nobleza and two of his men, Sgt. Leony Udal and PFC Delio Awingan. Those seriously injured in the blast were Sgt. Juan Almogeda and PFCs Randee Wansi, Arnold George Sumalbag and Rogelio Balubal.
Increased Militarization Begets Increased Resistance
The NPA ambush was believed to be in response to the increased militarization and reports of killings of two peasant leaders from Baggao, Cagayan who were believed to be abducted and killed and whose dead bodies were reported found in Lallo, Cagayan last March 27 and April 3.
Arthur Orpilla, ANAKPAWIS leader and KAGIMUNGAN peasant local leader, 50 years old, married with children and Dionisio Battad, both from Brgy., Bagunot, Baggao, Cagayan were found dead under the Magapit Bridge several hundred kilometers away from their town. Resident reported that the two were taken away by soldiers under the 17th IB Pa who had a detachment near their barrio.
Heavy Fighting in Abra
The incident also came a week after the discovery of what is believed to be one of the biggest camps of the NPA in Abra province.
Maclang said that his men from the 41st Infantry Battalion were on combat operations pursuing armed groups in the area when they chanced upon the abandoned camp in remote sitio Pacoc, Barangay Talampac, in Lacub, Abra, on April 2.
The camp, he said, is reported to be the headquarters of the NPA provincial party committee in Abra. Besides a number of high-powered firearms and ammunitions, also seized in the NPA camp were subversive documents, medical supplies and equipment, computer accessories and radio communication parts.?
On the other hand, NPA guerrilas under the Agustin Begnalen Command reported that staged an ambush against operating troops of the PNP RMG-Cordillera last March 29/
An NPA spot report conveyed that 3 troopers were killed, while 1 was seriously wounded. Succeeding but unconfirmed information stated that more casualties have been inflicted on the fascist police forces.
The ambush was rportedly undertaken by an NPA unit on March 29, 2007, at Mt. Tuktukab, above the small-scale mining areas of Barangay Pacoc-Talampac, Lacub, Abra. The NPA unit was closely monitoring troop movements of combined elements from the 41st IB, PA and the PNP-RMG-Cordillera when police troopers tried to maneuver on the mountain ridges of Mt. Tuktukab. The ambush started at 11:45 and intense fighting lasted for 15 minutes.
However, sporadic exchange of gunfire continued until 4:30PM, when casualties were retrieved with the aid of 2 huey helicopters.
Around 300 troopers under the direct leadership of the 41st IB's Col. Bautista and the PNP's Col. Cayat entered Lacub municipality at 4AM on March 28, 2007. The stated intent of the operation were "election-related" and to search for an alleged "big NPA camp".
The obvious intent of the big operation were to open up the small-scale areas for exploitation by big mining companies”
--Francis C. Hidalgo Jr.
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