After suffering defeat from an ambush by the New People’s Army (NPA) in Sitio Batong-buang, Barangay Trinidad, Guihulngan, Negros Oriental at around 1 p.m. last Saturday, combat troops of the 62nd IB got itself into a misencounter with their local paramilitary unit at around 4 p.m. in the same vicinity. Thirteen troops were reportedly killed in the ambush as the NPA fighters detonated an explosive against the soldiers.
The said ambush was the only encounter that day between the NPA and the 62nd IB’s troops, contrary to claims by the AFP that four encounters took place. Col. Michael Samson, acting commander of the 303rd Infantry Brigade, also did not disclose that the AFP suffered a number of casualties during the firefight.
According to the local NPA command, the 4 p.m. armed skirmish was actually a misencounter between the combat troops and their local CAFGU paramilitary force, as they desperately pursued the NPA unit. The NPA unit had safely withdrawn from the ambush site five minutes after the encounter.
Following the ambush, the AFP indisriminatetly shelled areas around barangays Sandayao, Trinidad, Binobohan, Imelda and Tacpao from its Casingan Army Detachment. It also used attack helicopters to drop bombs.
Unable to hit back at the NPA unit, soldiers retaliated by abducting Anselma Garde, a peasant woman of Sitio Batong-buang the following day, January 17. Garde remains missing.
Terrorized residents immediately evacuated the area. More than a hundred families were displaced by the military’s combat operations which began on January 10.
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