BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Army soldiers overran another temporary encampment of the New People’s Army in Kabankalan City Thursday, while pursuit operations against another group of rebels who figured in an earlier encounter in Candoni, all in Negros Occidental, led to the arrest of an armed team leader of the South West Front.
Maj. Cenon Pancito, 3rd Infantry Division spokesperson, said yesterday that 94th Infantry Battalion soldiers seized a temporary camp of the NPA, following an encounter in Sitio Manulaya, Brgy. Tan-awan, Kabankalan City.
Pancito said the firefight lasted for about 30 minutes before the rebels, estimated to number about 20, and are members of Central Negros Front 2, withdrew and left an M16 rifle with four magazines containing ammunition, improvised explosive device components, including a 150-meter electric wire and a battery switch, an M16 hand guard, a jungle hammock, a bolo, three ponchos, a civilian backpack containing assorted clothes including a shirt with a Paghimakas NPA logo, a pair of rain boots, seven kilos of corn, P105 in cash, and assorted subversive documents.
He also confirmed that an Army soldier was injured in the encounter, after being hit in the left thigh. But Pancito said the soldier is now in stable condition.
Pancito said the 94IB soldiers were still pursuing the fleeing rebels, using the traces of bloodstains along the withdrawal route as guide, among others.
The rebel camp discovered in Sitio Buko, Brgy. Tan-awan, Kabankalan City, can accommodate about 30 persons, he added.
Pancito also reported the capture of Adrian Gallendo Omilig, alias Nico, a suspected team leader of the NPA Southwest Front. He and his comrades were hunted down by 15th Infantry Battalion soldiers, following an encounter on July 20 in Sitio Guinobatan, Brgy. Caningay in Candoni.
Recovered from the encounter site were a hand grenade, a 9mm pistol with a magazine containing 10 ammunition, four spare magazines with 56 rounds of ammunition, a solar panel, empty cartridges of an M60 machine gun, M16 and AK47 assault rifles, and personal belongings.
Pancito said the encounter site in Sitio Guinobatan had been used also as a temporary encampment of the NPA, and can accommodate about 40 persons.
He strongly debunked rebel claims that five Army soldiers died in the Candoni encounter, adding that this was a usual line of rebel propaganda during encounters with soldiers in Negros Island.*