At least nine police and military personnel were killed and 10 others were wounded following an attack and series of encounters with members of the New People’s Army (NPA) yesterday, March 10, in Matanao, Davao del Sur.
At around 4:30 a.m., heavily armed NPA rebels raided and attacked a police station in the town of Matanao, Davao del Sur. Two policemen were killed and three others were wounded in the firefight. SecurityMatters sources said that rebels belonging to Guerilla Front 72 under Felix Armodia or alias “Jing” arrived on board one forward truck, one Elf truck, and a jeepney. After the attack, the rebels were able to cart away seven M16 assault rifles, two 9mm pistols, one .45 caliber pistol, and two hand-held radios. There are no reports indicating the number of casualties on the rebel side.
At about 5:00 a.m., undetermined numbers of NPA rebels attacked a military patrol base in Barangay Donganpekong, Matanao. Military personnel were able to defend the detachment and repel the NPA attack. The rebels withdrew after a brief firefight. There were no reported casualties on either side.
At around 6:00 a.m., nine suspected NPA rebels were apprehended by the Philippine Army’s 39th Infantry Battalion in Sitio Tagaytay, Barangay Savoy in Matanao. The nine apprehended are believed to be involved in the attack in the police station earlier.
At around 6:10 a.m., pursuing troops from the 39th Infantry Battalion clashed with withdrawing NPA rebels in Sitio Tagaytay, Barangay Savoy. Two NPA rebels were killed in the skirmish.
At about 9:00 a.m., troops from the 39th Infantry Battalion were ambushed and landmined by NPA blocking force in Sitio Lahak, Barangay Asbang, also in Matanao. Seven soldiers were killed and seven others were wounded in the explosion and firefight. The ambush took place as the group of soldiers were being deployed to reinforce the beleaguered detachment and municipal police station.
The attacks are believed to be part of a set of tactical offensives in line with the founding anniversary of the NPA on March 29.