Local NPA leader among rebels killed in Sorsogon encounter

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LEGAZPI CITY, Albay—A local high-ranking New People’s Army leader was among the eight rebels killed in Thursday’s encounter with Army soldiers in the hinterlands of Juban in Sorsogon, an Army official said Friday.

Colonel Joselito Kakilala, commander of the 903rd Infantry Brigade operating in Sorsogon, identified the NPA leader as Arnel Estiller alias “Ka Ariston,” alleged to be the secretary of the communist guerrilla front “Larangan 2.”

Kakilala said in a telephone interview that Estiller and two women were among the eight killed in a clash with a platoon of soldiers from the 31st battalion in Barangay Upper Calmayon in the municipality of Juban, 82 kilometers southeast of this city.

A military report claimed one of the slain women was a former teacher who joined the communist movement.

The bodies of the slain rebels are now in the custody of the Philippine National Police in Juban town for autopsy and identification by relatives, said Kakilala.

Brig. Gen Felix Castro, assistant division commander of the 9th Infantry Division, said the soldiers were on patrol when they encountered a 20-strong band of communist rebels at 6 a.m. A 35-minute firefight followed. The soldiers recovered five M16 rifles, two M203 grenade rifles, three computer laptops and improvised explosive devices.

No casualties were reported on the government side.

Related story: 8 NPA rebels killed in Sorsogon clash

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