Soldiers seize rebel hideout, guns; evacuees return home

The seized items from the rebels’ temporary hideout.*15thIB photo

The Army’s 15th Infantry (Molave Warrior) Battalion encountered 15 New People’s Army rebels and overran their temporary hideout in Sitio Tunap, Brgy San Jose, Sipalay City, Negros Occidental, on Saturday, September 16.

There were 47 families with 186 members who evacuated from nearby sitios Atoy-atoy and Patio-tio, Brgy. Gil Montilla, Saturday, following the encounter but went home on Sunday, Danilo Bogtae, Sipalay Emergency Assistance and Rescue Services head, said.

The City Social Welfare and Development Office and Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office assisted the evacuees and provided them with hot meals, he said.

The 15th IB soldiers had gone to Sitio Tunap in response to information from residents on the presence of NPA rebels demanding food and conducting recruitment activities, the Army said.

The encounter with the rebels who are believed to be the remaining members of the NPA’s Platoon 3, South West Front, lasted for about 10 minutes, the Army reported.

The soldiers seized a .45 caliber pistol, homemade shotgun, ammunition, a cellphone with memory card, medical paraphernalia, transistor radio, 20 meters of electrical wire, jungle packs, solar panel, flashlights, hammocks, poncho tent, rain boots and subversive documents, the Army reported.

Military working dogs were employed to track the enemy withdrawal route and to detect the presence of Anti-Personnel Mines (APM).

There were no casualties on the government side, while blood stains were seen at the scene of the clash, which indicates that there could have been casualties among the rebels, the Army said.

“The local community’s cooperation demonstrates their willingness to prevent the presence and resurgence of the armed group in their community and underlines their unwavering commitment to fighting terrorism and maintaining their safety and well-being,” Lt. Col. Michael Cuarteros, 15IB commander, said.

The Army will continue to intensify its efforts to dismantle the NPA’s South West Front, he said.

He urged the remaining NPA rebels “to give peace a chance and surrender now”.*

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