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2 cops killed in clash with NPA rebels in Occidental Mindoro

LUCENA CITY – Two police officers were killed in the first of two running gunbattles with suspected communist New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in San Jose town in Occidental Mindoro Saturday, the military said.

Capt. Patrick Jay Retumban, public affairs chief of the Army’s 2nd Infantry Division, said the police officers were killed in a 15-minute encounter with an estimated 10 NPA rebels in Sitio Imbrasan in Barangay Mapaya around 9:40 a.m.

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The identifies of the slain officers were not mentioned in the military report.

The rebels — from Platoon Mike of Kilusang Larangan Guerilla Silangan — were retreating from the pursuing government forces after the first encounter early in the morning in Sitio Barungbong in the same village.

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The rebels escaped, leaving behind a magazine with .30-caliber ammunition, two cellular phones and SIM cards, two grenade launchers, medical kits, and assorted personal belongings.

Retumban said the rebels retreated towards different directions, dragging along their wounded and dead comrades, as shown by the bloodstains at the encounter site.

After two hours, at around 11: 45 a.m., the government forces again engaged the retreating rebels. This second running battle was still ongoing as of 3:30 p.m.

Quoting Col. Marceliano Teofilo, commander of the Army’s 203rd Infantry Brigade, the report said the encounters were part of pursuit operations in Mansalay town in Oriental Mindoro after the escaping rebels were forced to withdraw to the boundary between Oriental Mindoro and Occidental Mindoro.

On Thursday, two NPA rebels were killed in another encounter in Mansalay.

Lt. Col. Alexander Arbolado, the new commander of the 4th Infantry Battalion, said all available soldiers and local police officers, along with K9 dogs, were
conducting pursuit operations.

“We are guarding all their possible exits and we have directed all our intelligence assets and informants on the ground to track and monitor the retreating enemies,” Arbolado said. /atm

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TAGS: 2nd Infantry Division, communist rebels, NPA
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