Davao City – Government troops from the 28th Infantry Battalion encountered an undetermined number of communist New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in Sitio Sobole, Barangay Maragatas in Lupon town, Davao Oriental at around 6 a.m. yesterday.
Report reaching the Manila Bulletin here said the 45-minute gun battle resulted in the NPA rebels going on a hasty retreat and taking with them an undetermined number of slain and wounded comrades as evidenced by bloodstains discovered by pursuing troops along their escape route.
Recovered by the military at the site of the encounter were one AR-18 rifle, wires and other landmine paraphernalia and four back packs containing personal belongings and subversive documents.
No casualties were reported on the government side.
Prior to the encounter, the Army received reports from local residents about the presence of the heavily-armed rebels.
The report added that the NPAs also harassed the troops stationed in Barangay New Visayas in Lupon and Barangay Araibo in Pantukan town.
The rebels also attempted to take hostage the wife of a member of Civilian Armed Auxillary (CAA) but failed, the report added.
The same group of NPA rebels were also responsible for attacking Army stations in Barangay Araibo and Barangay Tagugpo all in Lupon.
In a statement sent to the media here, Lt. Col. Benjamin Daniel Tianco, commander of 28th IB, said that the recent atrocities is part of the preparations of the rebels for their upcoming anniversary on December 26.
“This hostile action is intended to project an image of credibility so as to counter the diminishing morale among their ranks”, Tianco said.