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Army recovers guns, ammo in Masbate

LEGAZPI CITY — A cache of high-powered firearms and ammunition left behind by fleeing suspected New People Army (NPA) rebels were recovered by soldiers on Tuesday,Apr. 21 in a remote village in San Fernando town in Masbate province.

Army Capt. John Paul Belleza, 9th Infantry Division (9ID) public affairs chief, said while Army soldiers were pursuing the communist rebels after an encounter with them on Sunday, a villager of barangay Salvacion tipped the troops about the sightings of several firearms in a copra-drying shack in Sitio Diwata.

“The Army troops, upon scouring the area, were able to recover seven M16 rifles, an M4A1 carbine, M653, a shotgun, and 13 long magazines and assorted ammunition,” Belleza said.

Earlier on Sunday, Apr. 19, an Army soldier was slain in an encounter with New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in barangay Salvacion. Following the clash, Army troopers recovered three M16, two M4, and an M653 rifle, as well as an M203 grenade launcher left behind by fleeing rebels.

As of this writing, Belleza said a total of 16 high powered firearms and other important equipment and documents have been recovered from the NPA.

The Joint Task Force Bicolandia (JTFB) headed by Maj. Gen. Fernando Trinidad "commended the brave troops for the job well done and once again, thanked the public for the prompt report and cooperation in the government's fight against the communist rebels,” he added.

Belleza said the JTFB believes that this is a clear indication that the people are already tired and fed up with the communist-terrorist group's useless cause, which only brings harm and violence to the innocent civilians. Trinidad once again encouraged the NPA rebels to lay down their arms, surrender and live a long and peaceful life with their families.

JTFB emphasized that it is never too late for them to abandon the armed movement and avail of the numerous programs and benefits awaiting them under the Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF-ELCAC). (PNA)

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