MANILA-- Government troops, conducting relief and disaster response operations in flood-battered CARAGA and Northern Mindanao, were subjected to a series of unprovoked rebel attacks Monday.
This was disclosed by 4th Infantry Division public affairs office chief Capt. Joe Patrick Martinez in a statement Tuesday.
This includes a New People's Army (NPA) rebels lobbing two hand grenades to troops undertaking relief operations thereat.
"Fortunately, the said grenades which landed just a few meters from the evacuation center, did not explode. This could have caused undue casualties and further misery to the civilian flood victims thereat," he added.
Likewise, separate attacks were also made on soldiers undertaking community support activities in one outskirt barangay of Surigao City and three barangays in Kitcharao, Agusan del Norte in the wee hours of Jan. 30.
"Just about after midnight, more or less 10 NPAs attacked the troops of 30th Infantry Battalion who are supporting the local government unit in Sitio Brazil, Brgy. Mat-i, Surigao City in their Bayanihan efforts. The troops managed to push the rebels to withdraw out of the community while three soldiers were slightly wounded," Martinez said.
The incident happened the day after the NPA abducted one 30th Infantry Battalion trooper while he was with the civilians doing a civic-action and clean-up activity in Barangay Budlingin, Alegria, Surigao Del Norte.
The soldier is unarmed and in civilian attire when he was taken by the rebels.
Martinez said 30th Infantry Battalion commander Lt. Col. Rico Amaro immediately coordinated with the provincial government about the incident.
Governor Sol F. Matugas convened the local crisis management committee to discuss their next action.
Meanwhile, at around 1:30 a.m., another attack was launched by the NPAs against the troops of 29th Infantry Battalion who are deployed in Barangay San Isidro and in Barangay Mahayahay all in Kitcharao, Agusan Del Norte.
The soldiers were deployed to help the local government units deliver the programs and basic services for their constituents.
An hour later, at around 2:30 a.m., another attack was launched in Barangay Hinimbangan, another community of Kitcharao, Agusan Del Norte.
Martinez said there were no casualties on the part of the government troop in these areas.
However, there are reported damages on the civilian properties due to the indiscriminate strafing perpetrated by the NPAs to include the explosion of one hand grenade that was thrown by one rebel near the civilian houses.
Lt. Col. Glenn Joy Aynera, 29th Infantry Battalion commander, immediately alerted his troops who are also deployed as part of the "Bayanihan" team in other communities within his area of responsibility.
He immediately informed the local chief executives about the incident.
It can be noted that the NPA has declared its unilateral ceasefire last August to reciprocate the declaration of the government to pave way for the peace talks.
"The military has faithfully abided by its ceasefire declaration and continues to fully support the peace process. On the other hand, these tactical offensives by the NPA's are inconsistent with their ceasefire declaration and could imperil the ongoing peace negotiations. These acts of violence also add further misery and suffering to the affected communities," said 4th Infantry Division commander Major Gen. Benjamin R. Madrigal. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency