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Troops foil rebel attack in Philippines

By Anthony Vargas | The Manila Times (Tribune News Service) | Published: January 3, 2016

GOVERNMENT troops thwarted a full attack on New Year's Eve by the New People's Army (NPA) against them in a remote village in Goa town in Camarines Sur, a military official said on Saturday.

Major Angelo De Guzman, information officer of the Southern Luzon Command (SOLCOM), said in a statement the rebels launched the attack at 4:00 p.m. on Thursday in Barangay (village) Scout Fuentabella, despite the ceasefire between the government and the Communist Party of the Philippines being in place.

The cessation of hostilities is supposed to be in effect from December 23 to January 3.

About 10 NPA rebels engaged eight battalion troops and six militiamen in a 20-minute firefight, Lieutenant Colonel Zacarias Batalla, commander of the Army's 83rd Infantry Battalion, said in the same statement.

"No one was hurt among our troops. However, on the side of the rebels, bloodstains were seen scattered in their position," he said.

From the scene of the encounter, the troops recovered M14 and AK50 rifles along with packs containing two hand grenades and bandoliers with 18 assorted magazines and ammunitions, the battalion commander noted.

"It was a New Year's visit to assure the barangay folks of our presence, that we are not remiss in our duty to provide them security, when the attack happened," Colonel Claudio Yucot, commander of the 901st Infantry Brigade, said in the same statement.

"Our soldiers were left with no choice but to fire back," he added.

The attack seemed deliberate, according to the military, noting that landmines were discovered along the path the soldiers were taking on their way to the barangay which was about 2 kilometers from their patrol base.

Yucot said he did not order any pursuit operation in observance of the ceasefire declared by President Benigno Aquino 3rd.

(c) 2016 The Manila Times. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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