NSFA, Panacan, Davao City – Troops of the Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom) under the leadership of LtGen. Greg T. Almerol has seized more firearms and war materiel following a series of clashes against the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) in the tri-boundaries of the municipalities of Amai Manabilang, Lumba-Bayabao, and Maguing, all in Lanao del Sur on January 20, 2022.
The skirmish came after concerned citizens reported the presence of some 30 armed men to the troops under the 403rd Brigade’s 1st Special Forces Battalion (1SFBn), who have been pursuing the remnants of North Central Mindanao Regional Committee’s (NCMRC) Sub-Regional Committee 4 (SRC4) and SRC5 in said area.
The two-hour firefight resulted in the seizure of five high-powered firearms composed of two M16 rifles, an M653 rifle, an M14 rifle, an AK-47 rifle, assorted magazines for M16, M14 and AK-47, five linked of ammunitions for M60 GPMG, 208 rounds of AK-47 ammunitions, three bandoliers, four cellphones, assorted medical supplies and paraphernalia, backpacks with personal belongings, subversive documents, and food supplies.
No casualty was reported after the clash but troops found heavy bloodstains along the withdrawal route of the evading terrorists.
Troops of the 403rd Brigade are already conducting hot pursuit operations against the fleeing CTG and have already coordinated with other adjacent military units.
It can be recalled that the troops under 1st SFBn also encountered the same group on January 8, 2022, which resulted in the death of alias Rasty/Ade/Hansel, the Political Officer/Team Leader of Sub-Regional Sentro De Grabidad (SRSDG) Crackers Company of SRC5, NCMRC, and the seizure of an M60 GPMG, an M4 rifle, M16 rifle, M14 rifle, an M1 Garand rifle, and other war materiel.
LtGen. Almerol said that the CTG in Bukidnon has been running away from the government forces towards unfamiliar terrain such as in Lanao del Sur as communities in their former mass bases have already declared them persona-non-grata.
“After years of intimidation, the people have finally turned against the terrorist movement and are reaping for its benefits. Although their remnants are still on the run, lack of familiarity in the new terrain and support from communities made them easier to be pursued and engaged by our troops,” he said.
“These clashes send a strong manifestation that the people are already fed up with the CTG’s continued atrocities in their communities, therefore making them more participative in the military’s campaign to end the communist insurgency by reporting suspicious armed groups and activities,” the EastMinCom Commander added.
LtGen. Almerol also lauded the troops for the successful recovery of firearms, which he said will reduce the CTG’s capacity to use them against innocent civilians.
Earlier this year, EastMinCom has successfully dismantled the CTG’s SRC 5 under the Southern Mindanao Regional Committee after 14 of its top-ranking leaders surrendered on January 13, 2022.
“Team EastMinCom will not stop until the communist insurgency ends. We will finish the job before June 2022, as the CTG had already suffered major blows in the intensive focused military operations conducted by EastMinCom,” LtGen. Almerol expressed.