By Erwin Mascariñas
KITCHARAO, Agusan del Norte (MindaNews/8 Nov) – About 500 people, including members of the Mamanwa tribe, left their homes in a hinterland village here as the military intensified operations against the New People’s Army, bombarding rebel positions with artillery and helicopter gunships last Sunday afternoon, belated reports said.
The operation resulted in the death of a Scout Ranger, Pfc Ninoto C. Gulani, and the wounding of four others, including an officer, according to Maj. Eugenio Julio Osias IV, spokesperson of Army’s the 4th Infantry Division.
About a hundred houses in Sitio Zapanta in Barangay Bangayan – site of frequent of clashes between the military and the NPA – were reportedly deserted on the fifth massive evacuation to happen in the area this year.
Residents said the Army’s 30th Infantry Battalion fired 105mm Howitzer rounds as the Air Force’s MG-520 helicopters attacked rebel positions starting 10 a.m. on Sunday as members of the 5th and 6th Scout Ranger Companies, meantime, operated on the ground in search of rebels.
Nonito V. Senonis, Bangayan barangay chairman, said that the evacuees, including children, started arriving at the barangay hall compound at 4 p.m. on Sunday. Some were accommodated in the buildings around the hall, while others sought refuge in the houses of relatives nearby.
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