88IB Kills 4 CNTs, Captures 9 CNTs including 12-Year Old Child-Soldier; Seizes 16 High Powered Firearms in a Running Gun Battle in Bukidnon

CAMP EVANGELISTA, Cagayan de Oro City – The troops of the 4th Infantry (Diamond) Division encountered CPP-NPA Terrorists (CNTs) today at a forested area in Brgy Mabuhay, San Fernando, Bukidnon. The incident resulted in the killing of 4 CNTs, capture of 9 other CNTs including a 12-year old child-soldier, and the seizure of 16 high-powered firearms.

In response to an information from residents that a group of CNTs are on recruitment and extortion activities at their community, the elements of 88IB under the operational control of the 403rd Infantry Brigade of the 4th Infantry (Diamond) Division immediately conducted strike operations to protect the populace in the said area from CNT atrocities. The troops subsequently encountered more or less 20 CNTs under alias MIGZ, Front Secretary, Guerilla Front Malayag of the Sub Regional Committee 2 (SRC2) of the North Central Mindanao Regional Committee (NCMRC).

Maj. Gen. Romeo S Brawner Jr., Commander of the 4ID, disclosed that a 1-hour running gun battle ensued around 8 o’clock in the morning that initially resulted in the seizure of 3 AK47 Rifles, 4 M16 Rifles and 1 M203 Grenade Launcher, the killing of 4 unidentified CNTs, and capture of 2 others.

“It is a running gun battle wherein our troops were eventually chasing after the CNTs who are scampering towards different directions after the initial firefight. With the persistence of our troops during pursuit operation, they were able to subsequently capture another 7 CNTs including the 12-year old child-soldier and seized another 8 high-powered firearms composed of 2 AK47 Rifles, 3 M16 Rifles, 1 M14 Rifle and 2 M653 Rifles. The pursuit operations is still ongoing”, Maj. Gen. Brawner Jr. said.

Maj. Gen. Brawner Jr. also conveyed his sincerest condolences to the families of the dead CNTs. He added that the tragic demise of the said CNTs and the recruitment of a 12 year old minor is a manifestation of the futility of the armed struggle. The series of victories against the CNTs this past weeks, he said, is a testament of the people’s trust and confidence to our soldiers.

“The people are fed up and tired of the never ending violence and treachery perpetrated by the CTG including their wanton disregard of the International Humanitarian Law (IHL) in recruiting minors to bear arms. I assure you that they will not win against the government especially with the people on our side, as the people have long wanted to live in peace and collectively pursue development initiatives”, Maj. Gen. Brawner stressed.

He lauded the courage and bravery of the troops of the 88IB and cited the troops as a beacon of gallantry and selfless commitment in protecting the people and fighting for peace.

“We congratulate the 403rd Infantry Brigade under Brig. Gen. Ferdinand T Barandon and 88IB under Lt. Col. Christian James P Vingno for the successful encounter against the CTG. Surely this victory is another setback that will encourage perhaps most CTG members to return to the peaceful path and abandon the armed struggle”.

On the other hand, troops of 23rd Infantry Battalion under Lt. Col. Julius Cesar T. Paulo Jr. under the operational control of 402nd Infantry Brigade under Col. Adonis G. Orio, also seized 3 AK47 Rifles, 2 M203 Grenade Launchers, and 1 Anti-Personnel Mine during an encounter on Monday around 2:20PM at Sitio Manawang, Barangay Guinabsan, Buenavista, Agusan del Norte.

Maj. Gen. Brawner Jr confirmed the said encounter and said that a platoon from 23IB that are conducting Focused Military Operations encountered more or less 25 CNTs believed to be remnants of GF4A of NCMRC led by Jelan Pinakilid alias Baking and 1st Platoon of HQF NEO of NCMRC led by Crisanto Ligayna alias Tazar.

“I would like to convey also my congratulations to 23IB and 402nd Brigade for the job well done. This bespeaks the professionalism of our troops and their commitment to ensure that our people are protected from those who advocate violence in furtherance of their own agenda”.

Moreover, a certain Benido Cagas Gumapac @Dave/Ben, Squad Leader of Banacon Squad of Sentro De Gravidad (SDG), GF16 of the North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee (NEMRC), voluntarily surrendered without firearm to Lt. Col. Aristotle F Antonio, Commanding Officer of 29th Infantry Battalion on Monday morning, September 6, 2021.

“Alias Dave is 22 years old, single and a resident of Brgy Bangayan, Kitcharao, Agusan del Norte and was exploited by the CNTs by targeting his vulnerabilities and weakness. This is how the CTG deceive their potential recruits and lure them to join the armed struggle. With his decision to return to a peaceful path, another life will be saved and will be given better opportunities under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP)”, Maj. Gen. Brawner Jr. explained.

It can be recalled that last September 2, 2021, a 15 minute encounter also ensued at the mountainous area of Sitio Suoton, Brgy Cagdianao, Claver, Surigao del Norte between the troops of 30th Infantry Battalion under Lt. Col. Ryan Charles Callanta and more or less 10 CNTs of SYP Platun 16C1, GF16, NEMRC under Roel T Neniel alias “Jacob” on September 2, 2021 resulting in the death of one (1) CNT alias “Asyong”, the Vice Platoon Commander and Political Officer of SYP Platun, 16C1, GF16, NEMRC and the capture of two (2) AK47 Rifles, one (1) M14 rifle, one (1) bandolier, two (2) AK47 magazines, seven (7) M14 magazines with ammunitions, and assorted medicines.

Maj. Gen. Brawner Jr. concluded that the 4ID campaign against the CTG are in the right track because civilians are now vigilant and participating in the fight against the CTG by providing vital information that led to the series of victories against the CTG.

“We do not want bloodshed against our fellow Filipinos, but we have a mandate to protect the communities from terrorist groups. Hence, we will relentlessly pursue the CTG in our AOR. Make no mistake that while we offer the CTG the opportunity to return to a peaceful path, they will face the consequences of using violence to further their agenda”, Maj. Gen. Brawner Jr. said.

Since the assumption of Maj. Gen. Brawner Jr. as the 4ID Commander last July 5, 2021, 37 encounters against the CTG have transpired in the AOR resulting in 46 firearms seized with 9 CNTs killed and 16 others who were either captured or apprehended. Also, 37 CTG members surrendered bringing with along them 21 firearms while 23 enemy hideouts and 5 IEDs were also seized.

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