By Joey Natividad
SORSOGON CITY, 9July2013 (BicolToday.com) – Renewed fighting between Army troops and New People’s Army (NPA) guerillas occurred in Sorsogon Province on Saturday, July 6, as rebels claimed having killed eight (8) government troopers, and wounded several others in series of attack against troops conducting pursuit operations in Irosin and Casiguran, this province.
However, Army officials have not issued any public confirmation over the said incidents.
The fighting happened two (2) days after Army troops overran on Thursday, July 4, a NPA encampment in Juban that resulted in the killing of NDF-Bicol spokesman Greg Bañares and seven others.
The troops have been conducting hot-pursuit operations aiming to destroy remaining rebel strongholds. The military operations are believed to last for another month.
On Saturday incident, the Sorsogon NPA Celso Minguez Command (CMC), in a statement posted on the internet, said government troops suffered eight (8) casualties including Sgt. Canuel, when they tried to outflank a platoon-size NPA unit holed-up at Macawayan village, Iroson.
During the fighting, CMC claimed several more government troops were also wounded, but Army officers were withholding the news from the public.
CMC admitted that one NPA amazon named Pinky Boticario (Ka Gerald) died in the Irosin fight.
According to CMC, on the same day, but late afternoon, another NPA team blasted, using command-detonated mine, a vehicle of the 508th PNP Public Safety Management Battalion which was carrying reinforcement troops. The explosion injured several troops. The incident occurred along the Maharlika highway at Ponong village, Casiguran.
Meanwhile, in Naga City, the spokesman of the 9th Infantry Division based in Pili, Camarines Sur, said Monday over DWKM radio interview, that Army troops are ready for any NPA attack in connection with any retaliatory strikes by the rebels as revenge for the killing of Ka Greg and seven others in Juban, Sorsogon.
Army Colonel Medel Aguilar, Army spokesman, said their soldiers are ready to face any NPA attack. However, he did not mention nor confirm about the renewed fighting in Sorsogon.
Last Friday, the underground Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) urged all NPA units to mount attacks against government military units to avenge the Juban incident. The CPP directive was posted in the internet.
Col. Aguilar denied that Ka Greg,and two others were shot when caught unarmed by soldiers during the Juban clash. He was trying to correct the rebels’ accusation that Greg and others were killed unarmed in violation of international protocols governing unarmed combatants.
Earlier, CPP called for international probe on the unarmed killings, insisting that it violated protocols on the Geneva Convention regarding humane treatment of prisoners, hors’ d’ combat (out of fighting), and the injured. [BicolToday.com]