Military launches air, ground assaults to foil NPA attack

The military said it has prevented a plot by communist rebels to harass Army and militia positions in the borders of North Cotabato and Davao del Sur by launching air and ground assaults on rebels’ positions Wednesday.

Lt. Col. Rhojun Rosales, commander of the Army’s 39th Infantry Battalion (IB), said “clearing operations” are still ongoing in the mountains of Sitio New Alimodian, Barangay Banayal, Tulunan, North Cotabato, following the military incursion.

Rosales said residents alerted the Army about the presence on Wednesday afternoon of some 40 New People’s Army (NPA) rebels under the Guerilla Front Committee 72, headed by Dave Verano alias “Commander Borjack” and Eusenio Cranzo alias “Commander Brix”, in the area.

“The rebels were massing and conducting military drills in an apparent show of force, including their fresh recruits, in front of terrified villagers,” Rosales said in a radio interview.

With the pursuit operation, Rosales said the 39th IB prevented the rebels’ plot to harass militia and Army detachments in the mountains of Tulunan. “They plotted to launch simultaneous attacks on Army positions, our operation prevented that plan,” he added.

Rosales could not say whether the rebels suffered fatalities but noted that there was no casualty on the government side.

The skirmishes sent school children of New Alimodian Elementary School fleeing back home when they heard explosions in the thickly forested area at the border of Tulunan in North Cotabato and Magsaysay, Davao del Sur. PNA