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Sunday, May 19, 2024

AFP: Christmas encounter shows insurgents’ decline

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The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said the Christmas Day encounter in Malaybalay, Bukidnon that resulted in the death of nine New People’s Army (NPA) insurgents highlights the communist movement’s general weakness and lack of capability.

“It also signals an urgent need for the remaining NPAs to surrender and abandon their futile armed struggle. It is time for them to take advantage of the government’s peace programs and spend time with their families during this holiday season, rather than facing the same fate as their fallen comrades,” AFP public affairs office chief Col. Xerxes Trinidad said in a statement.

He added that these losses further eroded the capability of the NPAs to carry out atrocities in Bukidnon and nearby provinces.

“We are thankful for the trust of every Filipino in the AFP for maintaining a peaceful environment. The AFP assures every Filipino that we will remain vigilant during this holiday season as we collectively work towards keeping our communities peaceful and secure,” he added.

Nine NPA members were killed during the encounter with the 403rd Infantry Brigade, a field unit of the 4th Infantry Division.

The AFP said government troops initiated a “sustained military offensive against the NPAs” after receiving reports of their presence in the hinterlands of Barangays Can-ayan, Kibalabag, Kulaman and Mapulo.

“During the initial scouring, the operating troops captured eight firearms from the encounter site, with expectations of more to follow as the operation continues. Troops are coordinating with local communities for the identification of the nine deceased NPAs,” Trinidad said.

AFP chief Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. earlier said the military is nearing total victory against all lawless groups in the country.

This came as some 2,658 NPA members and their supporters were neutralized from Jan. 1 to Aug. 17 this year.

Of this number, 124 were killed during encounters with military forces, 87 were arrested and 2,447 surrendered to the government

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