A leader of the New Peoples Army (NPA) was killed while a minor was rescued as skirmishes erupted in Northeastern Mindanao on April 19 and 20, 2020.
At around 11:40 AM on April 20, elements of the 29th Infantry Battalion while on hot pursuit figured in a skirmish against a group of NPA at Brgy. Bangayan, Kitcharao, Agusan Del Norte which resulted in the death of a certain Kevin Caballero alias Banjo, a known Vice Leader of NPA group being monitored in the area, and the seizure of one M4 rifle with an attached M203 grenade launcher, subversive documents, and one landmine switch kit.
The pursuit came after elements of the same unit encountered more or less 20 NPAs at around 5:30 AM of the same day at Brgy. Bangayan, which resulted in the discovery of an NPA hideout, capture of three suspected NPA members and the rescue of a 9-year old boy.
Another 15-minute skirmish with the NPAs followed at about 3:00 PM as the troops conducted a clearing operation, which led to the seizure of one AK47 rifle.
The killed NPA was identified by a former rebel during a public identification before turning over its cadaver and the captured NPA members to the Local Government Unit and Philippine National Police in the area for proper disposition.
Meanwhile, the rescued minor was also turned over to the Municipal Social Welfare and Development in compliance with the provision of the Republic Act 11188 otherwise known as “Special Protection of Children Situation in Armed Conflict.”
In a separate instance, the troops of the 30th Infantry Battalion, while conducting security operations encountered an undetermined number of NPAs at Sitio Katikuyan, Brgy. Camam-onan, Gigaquit, Surigao del Norte at about 2:35 PM on April 19, 2020.
The thirty-minute firefight forced the NPAs to withdrew towards several directions leaving behind 12 backpacks with personal belongings, several live ammunitions, International Humanitarian Law banned anti-personnel mine, 50 meters electrical wire, seven jungle hammocks, 12 poncho tents, and several subversive documents.
The intensified conduct of security operations in Eastern Mindanao was brought about by the task of the AFP units to secure the different socio-economic programs being implemented by the different Government Agencies and Local Government Units in its fight against COVID-19 and mitigate its social and economic impact.