24 soldiers killed, 3 wounded in Abra and Agusan del Sur*
April 21, 2011
The AFP would have wanted to boast of its achievements under Oplan Bayanihan before Benigno Aquino III and their US imperialist master, but ended up suffering several casualties in its military operations in Abra and Agusan del Sur towards the end of March and the first week of April. The casualties resulted from counter-offensives by the New People's Army (NPA) against the Philippine Army in the Ilocos-Cordillera Region (ICR) and Northeastern Mindanao Region (NEMR).
In NEMR. Up to 17 soldiers under the 29th IB were killed in sniping and ambush operations by the NPA under NEMR's Front 19 in Barangay San Isidro, Marihatag, Agusan del Sur on March 30 and 31, according to National Democratic Front-NEMR spokesperson Ka Maria Malaya. Most of the casualties were incurred in a misencounter between two enemy columns who were both rattled in the face of NPA attacks.
Three military columns began their attack as the 29th IB scoured the upland areas of Barangay San Isidro on March 30. Among them were new graduates of the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA). By 6:30 p.m., NPA snipers scattered the ranks of the first column of Philippine Army troops, killing four soldiers on the spot.
At around 7:30 a.m. the following day, the NPA ambushed the second column using a command-detonated explosive. The third column, which was then positioned on higher ground, tried to come to their rescue. It had no choice but to pass through the second column's position.
At around 7:45 a.m., the NPA guerrillas suddenly heard the two enemy columns firing at each other. The misencounter lasted until 12:00 noon. At around 11 a.m., two helicopters came and strafed the scene of the fighting. The soldiers also fired eight mortar rounds. The enemy incurred even more casualties due to this misencounter, said Ka Malaya, sustaining 13 more dead.
In ICR. Fascist troops suffered seven killed and three wounded in a series of tactical offensives launched by the NPA under the Agustin Begnalen Command (ABC) in Tubo, Abra from March 29 to April 2. The NPA was also able to damage two AFP helicopters, said ABC-Abra spokesperson Ka Diego Wadagan.
At around 3:45 p.m. of March 29, the NPA closed in and shot at fascist troops of the 50th IB who were busy burning cogon and wood used by the NPA in huts found in an abandoned camp in Mt. Labayan, Sitio Beew, Barangay Alangtin in Tubo town. This prompted the military to pour more troops into Sitio Beew. The troops were harassed by the NPA at around 3:15 p.m. on March 31. The enemy sustained two killed and two wounded in these two firefights.
It was from an NPA ambush on a platoon of the 50th IB on April 1 that the enemy suffered a big number of casualties--five more dead and one wounded.
Two helicopters tried to retrieve their casualties at 9:20 a.m. of April 2 but failed to land in Mt. Labayan after being sprayed with gunfire. The helicopters were forced to leave after suffering some damage.