CAMP ELIAS ANGELES, Pili, Camarines Sur – The communist rebel’s strength was further dwindled by the confiscation of another high-powered firearm after a clash with NPA bandits in Masbate early evening today, a military official said.
LtCol Anthony Purugganan, Commander of the 9th Infantry Battalion based in Masbate said that his troops confiscated a Cal 5.56mm M16A1 Rifle when a 9-man squad of his battalion led by Cpl Marvin De Luna encountered at least 10 NPA rebels in Arado village, Uson town at around 5:40pm today.
“It was getting dark but my soldiers were able to take a vantage position forcing the rebels to flee after incurring casualties during the 10-minute exchange of gunfire. The bandits fled to various direction leaving behind a Caliber 5.56mm M16A1 Rifle from one of the enemy casualties,” said Purugganan.
After scouring the immediate vicinity of the encounter site, the soldiers recovered a bandolier with 100 rounds of ammunitions.
Blood traces were also found along the route of withdrawal indicating that some of the rebels were injured but were carried by their comrades. No one was injured among the government troops.
Another M16A1Rifle was also confiscated by government troops during an earlier clash with NPA rebels in Cataingan town on August 19.
In CY 2010 alone, the 9th ID troopers have confiscated 85 assorted firearms lowering the number to 347 from its previous tally of 432 firearms in CY 2009.
Meanwhile, the number of armed rebels have been lowered to 234 fighters from its CY 2009 tally of 306.
Army records show that the strength of the NPA rebels have significantly dwindled due to the successes of the Philippine Army in its internal security operations.
Civilian tipsters were attributed to the successes of the recent combat accomplishments of 9ID troopers.
In Camarines Sur, 12 high-powered firearms were confiscated by Army soldiers in Lupi town through the help of one of the captured rebels. A civilian informant gave the precise location of the NPA rebels’ hideout leading to the capture of three bandits after a brief firefight in Tible village on July 29.
Major General Ruperto Pabustan, Commander of the 9th Infantry Division has directed the 9th Infantry Battalion to intensify its campaign against various armed groups who have sown terror in Masbate Province.
“The soldiers will conduct relentless security patrols to neutralize the various armed groups in the province including the NPA bandits whose numbers have significantly dwindled due to their losses during clashes,” Pabustan said.