Ranking ‘NPA leader’ killed in Caraga encounter

BUTUAN CITY – An alleged top leader of the communist New People’s Army (NPA) in Caraga Region was killed in an encounter, the 401st Infantry Brigade on Sunday (July 19) said.

In a statement, the Army identified the alleged NPA leader as Marcelino Navarro y Tampos, alias Marsing, current deputy secretary and head of education and propaganda of the North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee (NEMRC) of the NPA.

1Lt. Krisjuper Andreo J. Punsalan, civil-military operation (CMO) officer of 3rd Special Forces Battalion (3SFBn), told the Philippine News Agency Sunday that Tampos was among those killed in an encounter last July 7 but his dead body, together with another NPA rebel still not identified, were recovered only on Sunday by the government troopers.

The cadavers were recovered by the 3SFBn troopers who have been conducting security operations since Saturday (July 18) in Andap Valley Complex in Barangay Diatagon, Lianga, Surigao del Sur.

The security operations were conducted in response to information of residents on the supposed plan of NPA rebels to burn the newly-constructed Department of Education (DepEd) Indigenous Peoples’ school in Sitio Simuwao, Diatagon.

“We received reports that Tampos was among those severely wounded during the July 7 encounter. His cadaver was later found by our troopers. He, and another companion, were abandoned and left dead by their retreating comrades from the pursuing troopers,” Punsalan said.

The dead body of Tampos was positively identified by former rebels (FRs) while the Army is still processing to determine the identity of the other cadaver.

Operating troops also recovered near the site two AK 47 rifles, ammunition, anti-personnel mines, bomb-making materials, one portable generator, assorted medical supplies, laptops, cellphones and handheld radio.

“We have intensified our security operations in the said area after receiving successive reports from the IP communities that a large group of Communist NPA Terrorists (CNTs) is intruding inside their ancestral domains and threatening them,” Brig. Gen. Allan D. Hambala said in a statement Sunday.

Hambala added that the NPA rebels have already killed four innocent tribal members in the area since July 6, 2020.

“The CNTs also planned on burning down the newly built DepEd IP School at Sitio Simuwao. These vicious plans and terroristic actions of the terrorist NPAs must be stopped,” Hambala said.

The NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. (PNA)

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