By Alexander Lopez

RECOVERED ITEMS. Government troops from the Army’s 29th Infantry Battalion respond to the report of harassment and extortion by community rebels, leading to a brief gunfight in a hinterland village in Cabadbaran City, Agusan del Norte, on Tuesday. Soldiers recovered ammunition and war matériel following the armed encounter. (Photo courtesy of 29IB)

BUTUAN CITY – Government forces foiled an extortion attempt by communist rebels on small-scale miners in the Agusan del Norte city of Cabadbaran, the military said Wednesday.

In a statement, the Army’s 29th Infantry Battalion(29IB) said a group of small-scale miners in Brgy. Del Pilar, Cabadbaran, reported the presence of NPA on Tuesday and complained that the rebels had extorted and threatened their lives.

Soldiers dispatched to the village encountered a group of NPA rebels, resulting in a brief gunfight that led to the recovery of assorted ammunition and other war matériel.

“The communist NPA terrorists (CNTs) belonged to Squad 2, Sub-Regional Sentro De Grabidad Westland under the North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee of the NPA,” Lt. Col. Cresencio Gargar, 29IB commander, said.

Gargar said the group is led by Ricky Per Sr., who was identified by the residents in the area.

“This recent encounter follows a previous engagement with the same group last February 23, 2024, in the hinterlands of Barangay Concepcion in Cabadbaran City, which resulted in the death of one NPA rebel and the recovery of an AK-47 rifle,” he said.  

He also lauded the prompt report made by area residents, which he said should be emulated by other villages harassed by the NPA. (PNA)