The alleged encounter between the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) assigned in Nabunturan, Compostela Valley and the New People’s Army (NPA) introduced a sudden terror to the residents of Sitio Inupuan, Brgy. Mainit, Nabunturan, Compostela Valley after hearing a series of exchanged gunshots and similar explosions on April 1, 2016 at around 9am.
The incident created trauma for the civilians who heard gunshots from the upper part of the said area. 76 families equating to 297 individuals fled from the uphill.
The evacuees sought refuge in the barangay gymnasium of Mainit, roughly ten kilometers away from the area of encounter. The last batches of evacuees gathered at around 1pm.
The evacuees went back to their respective homes at around late afternoon at 4pm.
Civilians in between
According to the Nabunturan Emergency Response Team (NERT), they received a report from the AFP that there was an encounter somewhere in Sitio Inupuan, and that immediate help was needed after discovering few injured persons.
The NERT members, in partnership with the government, treated injured evacuees and also distributed goods.
Civilians also shared experiences regarding the encounter. Many have said that it was unclear who was firing gunshots at who.
“Wala mi kaila kung unsa to sila na battalion, wala mi kabalo. Blind ra man mi kay butobuto ra man diretso. Wala nay ingon nga nakakita mi sa side. Butobuto ra amoang nadunggantapos dinaganay mi diri kay lisod man kay naa man diria dapit,” a mother from the evacuation center said.
‘NPA’ medical services
There were many residents who claimed that the encounter was a violent one.
One resident from Sitio Inupuan, Sherly (not her real name), shared that the alleged NPA members were actually having a medical mission at the area during that time.
Although Sherly did not personally witness the encounter, she believed that the NPA were only helping before the unplanned shoot-out happened.
“Damay gyud ang mga sibilyan. Ang nasugdan ato [operations] alas otso man sa buntag nagsugod. Katong namatay karon, wala man unta to namatay kay wala man gipangtirahan sa mga sundalo. Siya kay nigunit man sa armas. Mao to siya ang napunterya sa mga sundalo,”Sheryl said.
Most of the injured persons from the encounter were reported to have come from the alleged NPA camp.
Still under investigation
The encounter lasted for approximately one or two hours. It is not still clear if the alleged NPA members started the fire or if the AFP countered the attack. The said encounter is still under investigation.
Atenews requested to conduct an interview with members of the Charlie Company 25th Infantry Battalion and 10th Infantry Division. However, no press statement is available at the present time.