5 Reds slain in encounters with Army special forces

A female amazon and 4 other male members of the New People’s Army (NPA) were killed in 2 encounters with members of the 1st Special Forces (SF) Battalion in a town in Lanao del Sur, a few kilometers away from Talakag, Bukidnon.

Lt. Col. Vercisio G. San Jose Jr., commander of 1SF Battalion, said that his troops also recovered high-powered firearms composed of an M14, three M16, two Garand Rifles, a bandolier, and several rounds of ammunition from the two encounter areas.

The 1st SF Battalion is under the operational control of the 403 rd Brigade headed by Brig. Gen. Ferdinand T. Barandon.

Major Gen. Andres C. Centino, commander of the army’s 4th Infantry Division where the 403 rd Brigade falls under, was the first to disclose the information to members of the Bukidnon media in a press conference held at the Function Hall inside 403 rd Brigade on Feb. 3.

Centino said that the first encounter started at around 9 AM on Feb. 2 at the hinterlands of Brgy. Gayakay, Tagaloan II, Lanao del Sur, about 7 kilometers from the boundary of Talakag town.

Centino said that a team from the 1st SF Battalion first encountered about 30 NPA combatants for about an hour. He added that the second encounter lasted for about half an hour within the same vicinity while soldiers conducted a clearing operation.

“Four NPA combatants were killed in the first encounter including the woman fighter. And another one was killed in the second encounter,” Lt. Col. San Jose said.

He added that he sent a team stationed at Talakag town to conduct combat operations after receiving information of the presence of NPA rebels asking for food from the residents of Brgy. San Rafael and nearby communities in Talakag. He added that they also received information that the NPA rebels were conducting alleged extortion activities targeting a construction firm in the area.

Lt. Col. San Jose said there was no casualty in his team. He said his team operated without artillery and air support because they were not needed in the operation.

“The encounter site is a temporary hideout of the NPAs, mountainous and away from the community,” he said.

He disclosed that members of the Philippine National Police from Lanao del Sur province and Scene of Crime Operatives conducted an identification process of the slain NPA combatants. He added that after the identification process, the cadavers will be brought to Cagayan de Oro City for embalming. (photo and report by BukidnonOnline.com correspondent Mel Madera)

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