At least 13 New People’s Army rebels were killed in a failed attack against a former comrade early Tuesday morning in the Mindanao province of Agusan del Sur, the military said.
The rebels reportedly targeted Calpito ‘Datu Calpit’ Egua, who has turned into gold mining and is said to be maintaining his own militiamen.
Datu Calpit’s gold mining operations are based in Sta. Irene village in Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur.
Fierce encounters were also reported in at least two more locations in the province as the rebels engaged government troops sent to pursue the rebels.
One NPA rebel was killed in Hamogaway in Baygugan when they encountered government rebels as they retreated. An M16 Armalite rifle with M-203 grenade launcher was recovered from the dead rebel.
The military source later said in a text message that the rebels left 12 dead bodies in Sta. Irene.
The same source said the rebels had already withdrawn from the area but fighting still rages in the mountains where the rebels who have broken into smaller units fled.
Also reportedly recovered from the encounter site were 3 M-16 rifles and 4 AK-47s.
Datu Calpit was slightly wounded after he and his men fought off the attacking rebels, according to the military spot report.
“Basta daghan patay, lakip na ang mga goons ni Datu Calpit,” said civilian source who requested anonymity for security reasons. (There were many dead, including goons of Datu Calpit)
Residents said they heard loud explosions and gunfire.
The national near the encounter site along the Agusan-Davao road are now open to vehicular traffic after it was closed early in the morning when the fighting spilled over to the national highway connecting the cities of Davao and Butuan.
There are no immediate statements from the rebel forces.
The attack came a week after NPA rebels also attacked Alegria town in Surigao del Norte.
The communist rebels overran the town’s police station but 2 NPAs were slain in the attack.
The NPAs however took 4 police officers as hostages.
Maria Malaya, spokesperson of the NPA’s North Eastern Mindanao Command said one rebel died during the siege and another was slain when the escape truck they were riding ran out of gas along the highway where policemen caught up with them.
The Maoist-inspired NPAs have been conducting a guerrilla war in the Philippine countryside for over 45 years.
It is Asia’s longest-running communist insurgency.