Military launches fresh offensive against Madlos followers in Bukidnon

The military stepped up its offensive against the followers of slain New People's Army (NPA) leader Jorge "Ka Oris" Madlos in Bukidnon province, launching more air strikes and barring people from entering a hinterland village.

The Air Force dropped more bombs in Impasug-ong on Tuesday night, November 2, and continued ground operations on Wednesday.

It was the same town where Madlos, the NPA operations command chief and National Democratic Front-Mindanao (NDF) spokesman, was killed by soldiers last weekend.

Tension gripped the town and neighboring areas as government troops launched pursuit operations against a group of heavily armed rebels.

Authorities set up checkpoints to prevent non-residents of Sitio Gabunan, Barangay Dumalaguing, Impasug-ong town, from entering because of safety concerns.

The town government counted at least 33 villagers who initially fled their homes at the barangay hall of Dumalaguing for fear of getting caught in the crossfires, said Impasug-ong Mayor Anthony Uy.

The hinterland village is located some 14 kilometers from the town center.

Uy said the air strikes were launched at around 9 pm on Tuesday, three days after the military confirmed that Madlos and his aide were killed.

Major Francisco Garello Jr., 4th Infantry Division spokesman, said the fresh military offensives were intended to finish off the core security group that protected the Madlos.

Garello said the Army asked the Air Force to bomb a specific area where Madlos' followers were confirmed to have been holed up.

He said the military would continue with its offensives against the Madlos' group that has been crisscrossing northern Mindanao and Caraga regions. –