521 people flee homes due to armed conflicts

By Mike U. Crismundo

BUTUAN CITY – A total of 126 families or 521 individuals fled their homes and farmlands for fear of their lives and security due to armed conflict between the Army’s 29th Infantry Battalion (29th IB) and Communist New People’s Army Terrorists (CNTS) in the hinterland of Zapanta Valley, Barangay Bangayan, Kitcharao town, Agusan del Norte province.

In a situational report on the armed conflict in Kitcharao, Agusan del Norte sent to Region 4 director Rodolfo M. Encabo of the Disaster Response and Management Bureau (DRMB) Friday, regional director Mita Chuchi Gupana-Lim of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD-Caraga Region 13), said the fleeing villagers are now staying at Bangayan Covered Court, in Barangay Bangayan, Kitcharao town, Agusan del Norte province.

For safety and security of students, classes at the preschool and elementary levels at Zapanta Valley Elementary School were also temporarily transferred to HV Dagani Elementary School in barangay proper of Bangayan, also of that same town, the region’s DSWD chief said.

Initial report from the regional office of the DSWD 13 here said the fleeing of highland villagers took place when skirmishes happened between peace and development teams of 29th IB and an undetermined number of CNTs in Zapanta Valley on Sunday, June 10.

Based on the report of Lt. Banggad and Lt. Buñe of the 29th IB, their troops were harassed by the alleged CNTs, DSWD 13 report said.

However, there were no reported injuries and casualties from the 29th IB, it said.