The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has denied that New People’s Army (NPA) rebels clashed last week against government troops stationed in Barangay Datag, Inabanga.
Brigadier General Arnulfo Matanguihan, commander of the Philippine Army’s 302nd Infantry Brigade on Friday debunked NPA claims that a soldier and three Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) personnel were injured during an attack on May 3.
Several gunshots were heard around the Army detachment’s periphery but these were fired from 300 to 500 kilometers away and no one was injured, said Matanguihan.
The Army official noted that 45 spent bullet shells were found near the detachment area but authorities have yet to verify the motives of the gunman.
The incident has since been downplayed by the government while the military assured the public that no encounter took place between rebels and security forces contrary to NPA claims.
Based on a statement of the NPA through liaison officer Jose Ignacio, the clash between government troops and the rebels lasted for several minutes resulting in the deaths of a soldier and three militiamen.
The minutes-long offensive was retaliation for “abuses” against innocent civilians through declaring “war on terror” against the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), according to the same statement.
It was also noted that the bombings against the ASG bandits during the clash in Inabanga on April 11 in Barangay Napo, Inabanga caused “trauma” to villagers.
Matanguihan in his response to the circulation of the claims, said that the statement was a propaganda intended to make it appear that the NPA has reestablished itself in Bohol.
However, Matanguihan assured the public that the province remained insurgency-free. (Rey Tutas)