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AFP overruns NPA camp ahead of CPP founding anniversary.

Butuan City - The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) overran the largest camp of the New People's Army (NPA) in Northeastern Mindanao, capturing what it believes would be the site of the rebels' annual gathering for the founding anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) on December 26.

According to 36th Infantry Battalion (36th IB) commanding officer Lt. Col. Randolph I. Rojas, military forces were able to capture the three-hectare encampment located in the highlands of Maitum town in Surigao del Sur which was believed to be the headquarters of the Guerrilla-Front Committee 30 of the CPP-NPA Northeastern Regional Command under a certain "Kumander Puma."

"The captured NPA camp was established for three months ago and was only monitored when highland villagers reported to us," the 36th IB commander added.

About 60 rebels could be accommodated in the camp's make-shift huts. The camp also had outposts, listening posts, a communal farm and kitchen.

It was also evident that its former occupants were gearing up for the CPP founding anniversary as thousands of flaglets, bearing the colors of the CPP-NPA, were also discovered and seized in the area.

"We also found several bloodstains within this area," said Rojas, who was interviewed by the Manila Bulletin at Camp Bacasi here.

He said it was an indication that five days of sporadic encounters with government forces, which ended last Tuesday, may have taken its toll on the NPA rebels.

In the series of gun battles they also captured 21 improvised explosive devices (IEDs), other war materials, including anti-government documents with high intelligence value.

"We have only one soldier, identified as Cpl. Julius C. Peritos of Scout Platoon, who was wounded during our five- day operations while undetermined of casualty on the enemy side," he said.

"This seized NPA camp was established for the past three months and was only monitored when highland villagers reported to us," the 36th IB commander added.

CPP-NPA officials had earlier approved a unilateral ceasefire that started yesterday and will last until January 3, a gesture matched by President Aquino's order for a suspension of military operations (SOMO) during the same period.


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Title Annotation:Provincial
Publication:Manila Bulletin
Geographic Code:9PHIL
Date:Dec 23, 2015
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