Thursday, August 18, 2011
Aurora NPA says four soldiers slain in a clash
DITEKI, San Luis, Aurora, August 19, 2011-Amid increased sightings of armed rebels some 17 months since this province was declared insurgency-free by local officials, police and the army, Ka Rowena Servante, spokesperson of Domingo Erlano Command (DEC) of the New People’s Army (NPA) in Aurora claimed that four (4) soldiers including the intelligence officer of the 48th Infantry “Guardians” Battalion, Philippine Army were killed in two separate battles which the military denied.
“The soldiers were waylaid down in two consecutive encounters last August 12 and 13 in Barangay Diteki, San Luis town,” the statement said, saying that the first encounter took place at around 11:15 pm when the NPA band, led by a certain Gregorio Torres Alias Ka Lenny/Jake figured in a firefight with 20 soldiers who occupied the Diteki barangay hall.
Servante said it has ambushed a truckload of soldiers who were trying to reinforce their fellow troops in Diteki last August 13 at around 9:10 am. It was reported that one of those killed was Army 1st Lieutenant Dennis Moreno, 48th IB intelligence officer when a bomb was hurled by the rebels.
The skirmish caused the truck to lose control while a V-150 armored personnel carrier which Ltc Kurt Decapia, 48th IB commanding officer was on board retreated to Diteki.
Servante said as an offshoot of the twin incidents, the military arrested five (5) civilians, identified as Arman Arevalo, Arthur Friginal, Ulot Mariano and a couple Nene Genes and Udit Wegan. They said that they were forced to admit that they knew the operations and were released in the afternoon.
The DEC said that these latest incidents were the third and fourth NPA-initiated clash with government troops in the province since last month which belied the latter’s claims that it crushed the backbone of the insurgency in the province. On the other hand, it only showed that the NPAs are very much alive and going strong in Aurora.
The DEC also vowed to launch more armed offensives against the military in the province.
Decapia said that the rebel groups’ claims of army fatalities were a brazen lie. Obviously, it was a black propaganda to make it appear that they are recovering lost ground.
He added that the August 13 incident lasted for only a fleeting five seconds and no one was hurt nor killed, saying what exploded were only blasting caps.
Decapia presented Moreno to the media to belie claims he was shot dead by the rebels, who he estimated to be around seven (7) to ten (10) armed guerillas. The twin incidents only demonstrated the rebels’ desire to recover its base in the province, which used to be its training camp. “It was an act of desperation. They want to show they are still here when in fact and in truth, their presence here is negligible,” he said.
He also denied the NPA’s claim that they arrested the five civilians, explaining they – who were rebel returnees - were merely invited to the camp to shed light in the incident. “We have invited them because we have reports that the NPAs are communicating and trying to win them back even if they don’t want to rejoin them,” Decapia said. (Jason de Asis)
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