NPA mounts 4 counter-FMO offensives in Sultan Kudarat

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At least 22 soldiers of the 37th IB were killed in a series of offensives mounted by the New People’s Army (NPA) in its counter-campaign against the 6th ID’s focused military operations (FMO) in Kalamansig, Sultan Kudarat. The division-strong operation has been running for more than two months since it began on June 15. In addition to the 37th IB, the operations also involve units of the 57th IB, 7th IB and troops of the Special Forces Battalion.

At least 18 soldiers were injured in these tactical offensives mounted between June 17 and July 26.

On June 17, the NPA-Sultan Kudarat fired at a column of the 37th IB at Sitio 30, Barangay Hinalaan. The following day, Red fighters fired at another unit of the 37th IB in the mountainous part of the same barangay. Five soldiers were killed in total while eight were wounded in the successive offensives.

The NPA ambushed an operating unit of the 37th IB in Barangay Datu Wasay on June 19. The attack by the Red fighters only lasted 15 minutes but due to fear and panic, the soldiers indiscriminately fired their weapons for two hours. Based on reports gathered, at least seven soldiers were killed and 10 were wounded.

On July 9, Red fighters conducted harassment operations against three columns of soldiers operating at Sityo Sorong, Barangay Hinalaan. Terrified, soldiers fired indiscrminately for three hours. The AFP also fired at least 17 artillery shells.

Residents estimate at least 10 soldiers were killed in this NPA operation. Bodies of dead soldiers were brought to the barangay center where operating troops of the 37th IB were stationed. Reports also indicate that the unit covered up a misencounter between their units during the height of the firefight causing the death of their own troops.

To control information and sow terror, three communities were hamletted by soldiers where residents were forbidden to move about. This gravely affected the livelihood of farmers in the area.

Meanwhile, the NPA thwarted an attempted raid by soldiers in Barangay Batang-Baglas, Palimbang on June 26. The Red fighters were able to maneuver and inflict damage on the attacking enemy. At least seven soldiers were killed and 10 were wounded. Meanwhile, eight NPA fighters sustained minor injuries in the incident.

NPA mounts 4 counter-FMO offensives in Sultan Kudarat