BY CRIS DIAZ
CAMP EVANGELISTA, Cagayan de Oro City : Four top communist leaders were killed in a two hour firefight in the borders of Lanao del Sur and Bukidnon between state forces and the outlawed New People’s Army (NPA), the military reported Friday.
Army spokesperson Maj. Francisco P. Garello, Jr. of the 4th Infantry Division here, said the armed skirmishes took place in the hinterland village of Tikalaan, Talakag, Bukidnon Wednesday evening.
Garello identified the four slain ranking NPA leaders as Carlisio D. Sumalinog, Jovilito D. Pontillas, Gary I. Juliana, and Jelly A. Sugnot.
Also recovered in the place of encounter were 16 high-powered firearms consisting of seven M16 Rifles, one M203 Grenade Launcher, two R4 Carbine Rifles, one M653 Rifle, three M1 Garand Rifles, one AK47 Rifle and one M14 Rifle.
In a statement, Maj. Gen. Wilbur C. Mamawag, 4ID Commander, commended the army’s Special Forces Battalion of the 403rd Brigade for pressing the fight without inflecting casualty to the government troopers.
He said that the operation was made successful with the civilians informing the military of the presence of about 30 armed men then converging in the borders of Lanao del Sur and Bukidnon.
Mamawag said that the civilians also contributed in the death of top communist leaders in Bukidnon led by George Madlos, Pedro Codaste, Loida Magpatok, and Ramil Banawan. -0-