NPA renews offensive, 9 soldiers killed in Abra, Kalinga

BAGUIO CITY — Two commands of the New People’s Army in two Cordillera provinces staged ambuscades on July 30 and August 1 where at least nine government soldiers were killed instantly and a score wounded.

Six army soldiers were killed and nine others were reportedly wounded when the Agustin Begnalen Command (ABC) of the New People’s Army (NPA-Abra) engaged a platoon of operating troops of the Bravo Company, 41st Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army on August 1 at Barangay Duldulao, Malibcong, Abra.

Two of the wounded soldiers later died in a hospital, the ABC statement said.

Earlier on July 30, another NPA squad in Kalinga ambushed the 34-member Charlie Company of the 21st Infantry Brigade in Balbalan, Kalinga. The three-hour firefight killed three soldiers and wounded two more, one died later, according to the NPA’s Lejo Cawilan Command (NPA-Kalinga).

Reports reaching the national media, however, quoted Lt. Eduard Sia-ed, 41st IB public information officer as saying the army company had only two casualties and two wounded. He identified the fatalities as Privates First Class Aurelio Begtang and Jones Andrade.

Sia-ed named the two wounded soldiers as 2nd Lt. June-mar Tutoy and Cpl. Oscar Cagurangan.

“The Red Guerillas used a command-detonated claymore mine and safely withdrew,” ABC said. It claimed a company-sized composite contingent of the Bravo and Charlie Coys is “currently terrorizing the people of Malibcong Poblacion, Duldulao, and Bayabas, and is forcing the people to allow the establishment of detachments in the municipality.”

ABC claimed the overwhelming majority of the people, however, opposed the 41st IB plan.

The ambush lasted only five minutes, according to ABC, but Sia-ed said the firefight with about 20 rebels lasted for about three hours.

The communist rebels claimed no casualty but Sia-ed said according to community reports, “at least five rebels were either killed or wounded.”

“Impositions of the Arroyo regime and the big mining companies will only fuel protests and unrests, and militarization will only intensify armed resistance from the people,” the ABC said in a statement. It professed support to the people’s opposition to large scale mining and all its disguised forms, and vows to frustrate all military and PNP operations to impose alleged development projects and in accordance with Oplan Bantay Laya 2. # Northern Dispatch

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