Friday, December 7, 2012

150 families flee fighting between NPA and Army in North Cotabato

150 families flee fighting between NPA and Army in North Cotabato

By: Abigail Kwok,
December 6, 2012 8:44 AM

Google map showing the location of Magpet, North Cotabato
The online news portal of TV5

MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATE - 9:09 a.m.) More than 150 families have fled their homes in three villages of Magpet town in North Cotabato where government troops have been battling New People's Army guerrillas since Monday, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council reported.

Meanwhile, two NPA fighters were killed and another was wounded in a clash with government troops in the town of Leon B. Postigo, Zamboanga del Norte province Wednesday.

The fighting in Magpet broke out around 11 a.m. December 3 when the rebels allegedly fired on soldiers and militiamen operating on the boundaries of Barangays Amabel, Noah and Bagumbayan, killing militia member Daniel Mahasan.

The firefight caused 154 families to evacuate to their villages’ multi-purpose halls, the NDRRMC said. Local officials have provided relief goods and security to the evacuees.
In earlier press statement, the Army's 6th Infantry Division said the discovery of at least six major NPA camps in Magpet prompted the unit to conduct a series of operations over the past two weeks.

Colonel Prudencio Asto, 6th ID spokesman, said the operations were guided by information from "concerned civilians who have been fed up with intimidation and extortion activities of the NPAs in the area."

“The NPAs are now on the run following our capture of their major camps in Magpet. Months ago, we also discovered several NPA camps in Makilala and Arakan. The NPAs are rapidly losing popular support from the people,” Lieutenant Colonel Noel dela Cruz, commander of the 57th Infantry Battalion, claimed.

In Zamboanga del Norte, Captain Alberto Caber of the 1st ID said patrolling troops checking on reports of alleged NPA extortion clashed with 20 rebels in Sitio Napolan. The soldiers seized an M16 rifle.

Police have set up checkpoints to intercept the fleeing rebels.