Philippines: Large raid by New People’s Army on mining company’s “private army”

NPA makes biggest haul of guns in raid on Butuan City security agency

By ,   Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

BUTUAN CITY, Philippines—The National Democratic Front said Wednesday  that Monday’s raid by New People’s Army guerrillas on the headquarters of a security agency serving mining companies here resulted in the largest firearms haul for the rebels in years.
While NDF Mindanao spokesman Jorge Madlos did not say just how large the haul from the Earth Savers Security Agency at Aruville Subdivision in Barangay Libertad here was, police said the raiders carted away  46 AK-47 rifles, 3 M-14 sniper rifles, 10 shotguns, 10  9-millimeter pistols and an unspecified amount of ammunition.
Superintendent Martin Gamba, spokesperson of the Caraga police, said at least 20 NPA rebels in two vehicles arrived at the security agency’s headquarters, which is about two kilometers from the regional police headquarters, at around 8:30 p.m.
Gamba said the rebels gained entrance by posing as National Bureau of Investigation agents and presenting search warrants. They then disarmed the four guards on duty, he said.
Gamba admitted that the police failed to catch up with the fleeing rebels but an operation against them was continuing as of Wednesday.
“Investigations are also ongoing,” Gamba said.
Madlos, also known as Ka Oris, said in a statement that the volume of guns the rebels seized was so large it was considered the NPA’s biggest haul in years.
He said the NPA decided to target the security agency, owned by retired police official Cesar Nario, because its guards were involved in the harassment of oppositors to a Chinese-owned mining company  in Trento, Agusan del Sur.
“The security agency committed rampant abuses and harassment against civilians and lumads, who are opposed to mining,” Madlos told the Inquirer.
Madlos also branded the security agency as a “private army in disguise.”
Monday’s raid came barely a week after the NDF celebrated its 39th anniversary on April 24.
The NPA is known to carry similar raids when an organization under the Communist Party of the Philippines observes important events such as anniversaries.
On April 9, just 11 days after the NPA anniversary on March 29, communist rebels posing as soldiers also stormed the police station of Tigbao in Zamboanga del Sur and seized at least seven M16 rifles, an M14 assault rifle and a 9-mm pistol.
On December 16, a few days before the CPP’s anniversary on December 26, five soldiers were killed while two others were injured when NPA rebels stormed a military detachment in Tandag, Surigao del Sur.

NPA strikes anew, raids Caraga firms

Gold Star, Mindanao, Wednesday, 25 April 2012

BUTUAN City– Suspected New People’s Army (NPA) rebels yesterday clashed with soldiers after raiding a construction firm and ransacking a security agency in different places in Caraga in time for the 39th anniversary of the National Democratic Front (NDF). Rebel and government forces exchanged firepower shortly before noon time in Barangay Bagyang, San Miguel, Surigao del Sur. There was no clear casualty report although the military claimed to have stumbled on an AK47 with ammunition allegedly left behind by fleeing rebels. The fierce encounter came about after suspected rebels barged into the firm Ronwood Construction and set afire its heavy equipment in Barangay Baleguian, Jabonga, Agusan del Norte.

The night before, some 16 suspected rebels posing as agents of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) ransacked an office of the Earth Savers Security Agency in Arujville Subdivision, Libertad here, police said. The highest known NDF leader in Mindanao, Jorge Madlos alias Ka Oris, told local radio said the raid on the security agency was the handiwork of NPA rebels. The NPA is the armed wing of the NDF. Madlos said the raid was carried out by a special operations group of the Cesar Cayon Command of the NPA. Butuan police station 3 head Senior Insp. Estelito German said rebels carted away some P15 thousand in cash, mobile phones and firearms from the private security company. German said the investigation and inventory of lost items were still ongoing. But Butuan police director Senior Supt. Pedro Ubaldo denied that the suspected rebels seized guns from the firm owned by retired police general Nelson Nario.

Madlos said the NPA took from the firm three sniper rifles, pistols, revolvers and a slightly used AK-47. He said the rebels barged into the Earth Savers office and hogtied three guards and an administrative official. Later, representatives of the firm said one of its workers has gone missing. Initial police investigation showed that the suspected rebels attacked at around 8:45 pm. They used a van that was subsequently abandoned in Barangay Bonbon here.

Hours later, suspected rebels stormed the compound of the firm Ronwood Construction in Jabonga, Agusan del Norte, and burned a bulldozer, a backhoe and a fuel tanker. Ronwood has been contracted by the government to undertake road repairs of parts of a highway in the area. Caraga police director Chief Supt. Reynaldo Rafal ordered an investigation into the raid and a manhunt against the suspected NPA rebels. A group, composed of officers from the 14th PNP Special Action Company, Jabonga police and 7th Special Forces have been fielded against the rebels.

In a statement released in time for the NDF anniversary, Madlos said his group would continue to “build the people’s revolutionary army and the people’s defense system.” Reads part of his statement: “In Mindanao, we have already established 42 company- and platoon-sized fronts, and thousands of local people’s militia and selfdefense corps. In the last 16 months, these have launched more than 600 tactical offensives, and annihilated a total of over a battalion of enemy troops.”

By BEN SERRANO Correspondent

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