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Army, Police arrest NPA-MB leader; high-powered firearms, ammos seized in North Cotabato

Photos courtesy of PH Army – 10th ID

CGMTY, MAWAB, COMPOSTELA VALLEY PROVINCE – Troops of 25th, 39th and 73rd Infantry Battalions recover a total of 19 high-powered firearms, one low-powered firearm, 1,500 ammunitions, two improvised explosive device (IED), and several NPA personal belongings during four separate incidents in the Provinces of North Cotabato, Davao Occidental and Compostela Valley on Thursday, August 3. An NPA-Milisya ng Bayan (MB) leader was also arrested in Makilala, North Cotabato while an unidentified NPA rebel died during an encounter in Malita, Davao Occidental.

The first incident happened around 1 a.m. today, when the joint Army-Police team composed of 39IB, Special Action Force and Cotabato Provincial Police Office took effect the arrest of Ariel Rebuta alias Siring, ranking leader of the NPA-Milisya ng Bayan (MB) of Guerrila Front (GF) 51 by virtue of Rebuta’s warrant of arrest # 157 for possession of unlicensed firearms in Purok Centro, Brgy Biangan, Makilala, North Cotabato. The arresting team recovered from Rebuta’s possession three M16 armalite rifles, 1,500 rounds of ammunition and an IED with detonating switch. Rebuta was turned-over to Makilala Police for filing of appropriate charges.

The second incident happened around 10:40 a.m., when troops of 73IB encountered a group of NPA rebels at Sitio Malbag, Brgy Little Baguio, Malita, Davao Occidental. The fleeing NPA rebels left behind a dead body of an unidentified NPA rebel and another M16 armalite rifle which were recovered by the troops of 73IB.

“The information given by the populace in maintaining peace and order plays a vital role in the success of the operation,” said Colonel Roberto Ancan, the 1002nd Infantry Brigade commander, who lauded the 39IB and PNP personnel involved leading to the arrest of Rebuta and 73IB for its neutralization of an NPA rebel.

Meanwhile, series of encounters comprise the third and fourth incidents involving the troops of 25IB and the NPA rebels belonging to Guerilla Front (GF) 33 and Pulang Bagani Company (PBC) 4, the third incident happened around 6:55 a.m. today, when said troops engaged in a 15-minute firefight around 20 terrorist NPA at Purok 6, Mayaon, Montevista, Compostela Valley Province. Engaged troops initially recovered four M16 armalite rifles, one M14 rifle, two M1 garand rifles, one M2 carbine rifle, one caliber .38 pistol, several personal belongings and subversive documents left by the fleeing rebels.

On that same day, a separate group of soldiers from 25IB who were pursuing the fleeing rebels from the earlier Montevista encounter caused the fourth incident which is another 10-minute firefight. The incident led to the recovery by the 25IB troops of additional high-powered firearms comprising two M16 armalite rifle, two M14 rifle, two M1 garand rifle, one AK-47 rifle, an IED and several NPA personal belongings. A soldier whose name is being withheld was also slightly hurt while the fleeing NPA rebels were believed to have suffered heavy casualties manifested by bloodstains seen in the encounter site.

Brigadier General Macairog Alberto, 1001st Infantry Brigade commander said that as long as NPA rebels continue to terrorize the people of Compostela Valley, the military will not hesitate to use legitimate force to drive them away from the community and its people.

Major General Noel Clement, 10ID commander extolled the troops of 25IB and the joint 39IB-Cotabato Police and 73IB for their accomplishment. “Let us continue to protect our fellow Filipinos away from the threats caused by NPA terrorists,” Clement furthered.

“While we address the armed threats, we shall also intensify our support to the local government units by establishing communities that are conflict-resilient through our Community Support Program (CSP),” Clement added. | 10th Infantry Division – Philippine Army, via Eunice Samonte – PTV News

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