CAMP EVANGELISTA, Cagayan de Oro City--The military on Friday confirmed that four ranking leaders of the New People’s Army (NPA) in Northern Mindanao were among the 15 fatalities in an armed encounter in the border of Agusan Del Norte and Misamis Oriental.
Capt. Anthony B. Pueblas, chief of the Public Affairs Office of the army’s 4ID here, said that the military encountered about 80 fully armed NPAs, which resulted in a four-day running gun battle that started Sunday dawn.
Pueblas identified the four top NPA leaders as Ian Dela Rama a.k.a “Gian”, the Front Secretary, Rio Amor Yuson a.k.a “Lema”, the Finance Officer, Paquito Namatidong a.k.a “Sangka”, the Platoon Leader of SPP Sikop, Peter Mansaginda Pinakilid a.k.a. “Aloy" – Political Officer, GF4A, all officers of the Guerilla Front 4A, North Central Mindanao Revolutionary Committee (NCMRC).
He said that the four top-ranking NPA leaders were among the 15 casualties of the communist insurgents who were initially identified along with two others earlier identified as Gladys Joy Hiponia; a.k.a "George", a member of SPP Kingdom, GF4A, NCMRC; a.k.a "Santol"; and a.k.a "DELFIN” of Lamusig, Butuan City while the remaining other cadavers were still for identification.
According to Pueblas, the armed encounter was one of the worst encounters between the state forces and the communist rebels in recent years, killing 15 insurgents and inflicting no casualties on the government side.
He said that the military was still on a hot pursuit against the fleeing communist rebels as the military command appealed for them to surrender in the nearest military or police outpost.
Major General Franco Nemesio M Gacal, the army’s 4ID division commander, said that the death of the NPA leaders has taken a blow on the communist terrorist group in the region.
“The death of the leaders of the NPA’s NCMRC brings us closer to eliminating the threats that these groups pose to our security,” Gacal said.
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