SOLDIERS and policemen on Sunday overran a suspected New People’s Army bomb-making camp in Sipalay, Negros Occidental following a brief firefight with suspected NPA rebels manning the site, Police Regional Office 7 director, Brigadier General Debold M. Sinas announced yesterday.
In a report to Philippine National Police chief, General Oscar D. Albayalde, the official said the operation in Sitio Kabilukan in Barangay Bactulon, Sipalay City resulted in the arrest of at least three suspected NPA members and the seizure of a cache of powerful improvised explosive devices and other bomb-making paraphernalia being used by the NPA in attacking government troops and other targets in the province.
Sinas said that the operation was triggered by tips regarding the presence of the NPA camp in Bgy. Camindangan where IEDs are being manufactured and stored for future use by the rebel group.
Around 6:30 a.m. Sunday, troops from the Army’s 15th Infantry Battalion, the PRO7 Regional Mobile Force Battalion, the PNP Special Action Force, the Negros Oriental Police Mobile Force Company and the Army’s 32nd Military Intelligence Company launched a combat operation in the area.
Sinas said the advance of the troops was briefly halted by a 10-minute firefight with at least five NPA guards. “Our troops were able to penetrate the NPA camp without being detected until they were finally met with gunfire from the camp guards,” the Central Visayas police director said.
No one was hurt on the side of the government troops during the brief gunbattle although many of the suspects were able to escape by using the big limestone formation in the area as cover.
Blocking forces were unable to intercept the escaping guerrillas due to the heavy forest.
Sinas said after clearing the area, a PRO7 Explosives and Ordnance Disposal Team processed the IED manufacturing site where they recovered finished IEDs and other bomb components and materials. The recovered pieces of evidence were brought to the Sipalay Municipal Police Station for processing and documentation.
They include five finished IEDs, one-and-three-fourth kilos of IED materials, one transformer, one solar charger, one portable charger, 11 pieces of dry cell batteries, 23 pieces of battery terminals, detonating cord measuring 175.5-inches, 25 switches, 15 pieces of pull terminal, clips, a cellphone battery, five capacitors, nine plugs, 209 pieces of blasting caps, two pieces of improvised molders, 4,376 pieces of small iron bars, six assorted firearms, 79 assorted live ammunition, three radios, assorted tools, eight feeding pans and suspected NPA documents.