Manila — Seven Filipino soldiers, including a colonel of the Air Force, were killed when a helicopter they were flying crashed in the southern Philippines while searching for Communist rebels over the weekend.
The military is flying a helicopter, a refurbished UH-1H Vietnamese-era aircraft commonly known as Huey, on Saturday with another Huey to replenish a remote base in Pantalon, a mountainous region of Bukidnon. Said that.
“I told them that other helicopters were chasing smoke over the air,” said Maj. Gen. Andres Centeno, commander of the 4th Infantry Division of the Army. “It crashed into the open field.”
No survivors were found when the rescue team arrived in the area, he said.
The names of the soldiers were not disclosed until the family was notified, but the military said the highest rank was the Air Force Colonel. Of the other six, three were Air Force soldiers and three served in the Army.
The Forward Operating Base was established as part of a campaign to ultimately eradicate the New People’s Army, an armed force of the Communist Party of the Philippines. Rebel groups have been trapped in low-intensity conflict with the government in Manila since 1969. The combat power of the rebels is currently estimated to be about 5,000 due to the height of 20,000 people throughout the archipelago. Rebellion in the early 1980s.
The government was strengthened against the New People’s Army (NPA) this month after announcing that the group would revive urban attack forces to target officials who said they had committed “crimes against the people.” Ordered the operation.
The NPA has decided to form a “partisan team” to carry out targeted killings in cities in connection with a special partisan unit in which fear politics seized control of the country during the corrupt administration of dictator Ferdinand Marcos in the 1980s. He said he was planning.
The most famous victim of the hit team was Colonel James Lowe, a U.S. military adviser and prisoner of war during the Vietnam War, who was ambushed and killed by the NPA hit team in northern Manila in 1989.
The crash on Saturday occurred the day after General Gilbert Gapay, the head of the Philippine Army, ordered the commander to step up efforts to dismantle the guerrilla movement and finally end the rebellion this year.
“All the remaining communist guerrilla fronts will be dealt with and defeated at the same time towards the end of 2021,” General Gape said Friday, adding that continued pressure on the ground weakened the rebels. ..
He said more than 50 guerrilla groups were scattered all over the country, but “on the verge of collapse.”
“We have decimated these groups significantly,” he said, adding that he wanted to be completely eradicated in the first few months of 2021.
The crash on Saturday was not the first time Huey used by the military. In November, a soldier died when a helicopter of the same manufacturer crashed while evacuating an army injured in a battle with Islamic extremists.
Seven soldiers killed in a Philippine helicopter crash
Source link Seven soldiers killed in a Philippine helicopter crash