5 civilians wounded in NPA attack in Northern Samar
CATARMAN, Philippines – Five civilians on board a vehicle were wounded after they were fired upon by suspected communist rebels early on Thursday morning in Victoria town, Northern Samar.
Reports said the rebels, believed to be members of the blocking force of the New People’s Army (NPA), fired at a Toyota Vios, while engaging the group of Police Senior Sergeant Rolando Dente of the Catarman police station in a firefight.
Authorities identified those wounded as the driver, Samuel Ilustre, 52; Wilta Tejero, 74, and his son Wilta Jr., 44; and Shai Sanchez, 17; all residents of Barangay North, San Jose town, Northern Samar.
Another passenger, Mariquel Sanchez, 53, was not hurt.
Ilustre said they were heading to San Isidro town in Northern Samar when the armed men flagged them down in Barangay Libertad in Victoria past 4 a.m.
When the vehicle did not stop, the armed men fired at the car. At the time, the rebels were in a firefight with 15 policemen.
Earlier, at least 50 rebels on board several vehicles and clad in military uniform swooped down at the police station in the town proper.
Sensing an attack, Police Lieutenant Eladio Alo, police chief, told the 15 policemen on duty to get ready for a fight.Policemen then positioned themselves on the rooftop of the station and shot at the rebels.
The gunfire lasted for two hours – from 3:44 a.m. to 6:02 a.m. — before the rebels retreated.
Three rebels were killed while three others were captured. Two policemen were also hurt — Police Senior Master Sergeant Arturo Gordo Jr. and Police Master Sergeant Arnold Cabacang.
Police Colonel Reynaldo dela Cruz, Northern Samar police director, said two of the captured rebels were identified as Ricardo Golez, 31, and a resident of Tacloban; and Alton Tamoyang, 18. A female rebel declined to give her name.
Dela Cruz said the tension remained high in the town and work at the municipal hall located beside the police station was suspended.
He said the slain rebels remained unidentified although they believe that one of those killed was the son of Salvador Nordan, alias “Kumander Badok,” a high-ranking NPA official in the Eastern Visayas. /ee
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