NPA rebel killed in clash with troops in South Cotabato

GENERAL SANTOS CITY — A suspected member of the New People’s Army (NPA) was killed in an encounter with government troops in a remote village in Tupi town, South Cotabato province on Monday.

Lt. Col. Jones Otida, commanding officer of the Army’s 27th Infantry Battalion, said in a report on Tuesday that their troops were responding to reports on the presence of armed men at a portion of Sitio Pangi, Barangay Lunen in Tupi around 12:30 a.m. when they clashed with at least 10 NPA rebels.

He said the firefight lasted for about 30 minutes, with the rebels eventually withdrawing towards the boundary area of Banga town.

There was no casualty on the side of the troops but one still unidentified rebel was confirmed killed as a result of the encounter, he said.

The Army official said they recovered at the scene an M14 rifle, an M653 “Baby Armalite” rifle, assorted ammunition, various personal belongings, food packs and subversive documents.

Citing reports from the field, Otida said the NPA rebels were under the group’s Front 73 and led by a certain “Kumander Kidlat”.

The unit is reportedly operating in the boundary of Tupi and Banga towns in South Cotabato, he said.

Otida said the presence of the rebels in the area was earlier reported to their unit by concerned residents.

He said they immediately verified it and launched “focused military operations” to locate the rebels.

“This was (the) result of the continuing support of the local populace. It shows that they were already tired of the extortion activities and threats from the group,” he said.

Otida added that pursuit operations are ongoing against the rebels in the hinterlands of Tupi and Banga towns.