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Death of an NPA top leader weakens group, says military

DAVAO CITY – A top-ranking official of the military yesterday claimed that the death of a top leader of the New People’s Army rebels has weakened their organization in Eastern Mindanao.

Lt General Greg Almerol, chief of the Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom) said in a statement that the death of alias Asyong of the SYP Platoon 16C1, Guerrilla Front 16, North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee (NEMRC) of the NPA rebels, is now weakened.

He said the group is now under the command of inexperienced members and he considered this a big blow to the communist rebels.

On September 2, this year, Asyong, tagged as the vice commander and political officer of the NEMRC splinter group, died during an encounter with the elite troops of the 30th Infantry Battalion. The rebel group, led by a certain Roel Neniel alias Jacob, has engaged the patrolling military troops in Barangay Cagdianao, Claver in Surigao del Norte, it was learned, which lead to the death of Asyong.

The military, who engaged the NPA rebels in a 25-minute skirmish, recovered Armalite rifles, AK-47 and M14 rifles with magazines and bandoliers.

“We abhor the idea of bloodshed and we do not want to see another rebel dying for the sake of the communist terrorist group. Therefore, I ask the remaining NPA members to surrender peacefully instead of wasting their lives on a senseless ideology,” the military official said.

Meanwhile, another NPA rebel identified as Aldo Higyawan alias Ramon, died in a separate encounter with government forces last August 29 in Barangay Lawaan, Gingoog City. Higyawan belongs to the Platoon Ryan, SRC1 of the North Central Mindanao Regional Committee.

During the firefight that ensued the rebels retreated to unknown directions and the pursuing military troops recovered the rebels’ hideout. They also recovered two M16 rifles, an M14 rifle, assorted medical paraphernalia, and other documents.

The hideout of the NPA rebels was tipped by a concerned citizen which led the elite forces of the government to successfully drive the rebels out to the mountains.

“This is proof of the people’s genuine intent to help the government in its crusade for peace and in pushing the end of the local communist armed conflict in their communities,” the military top brass pointed out.

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