5 suspected NPA rebels slain in clash with police, Army in South Cotabato
KORONADAL CITY –– Five suspected New People’s Army (NPA) rebels, including a woman, were killed in an encounter with government troops before dawn on Wednesday, Dec. 2, in a remote part of Lake Sebu town, South Cotabato.
Citing initial reports, Col. Jemuel Siason, South Cotabato police director, said police and Army operatives clashed with the communist rebels in Sitio Kibang in the village of Ned at 4:35 a.m.
Siason said the government forces were out to serve arrest warrants for multiple murder, multiple frustrated murder, and harassment against several individuals, including a certain Bernie Canyon alias Delmar, who is believed to be the commander of an NPA platoon operating in the area.
Siason added that Canyon’s group belonged to Guerrilla Front 53 of the NPA’s Southern Mindanao Regional Command.
The police official said the rebels fired at the government forces, triggering an armed encounter.
Siason identified the fatalities as Canyon; Rogelio Magsaya alias Sarge and Delio, deputy commanding officer of the NPA’s Pulang Bagani Command; Romeo Hebron alias Frank and Melvin, head of a regional ordnance unit of the NPA; a certain Ka Mercy, identified as the wife of a certain Dulce; and alias Macoy.
The troops did not suffer any casualty, Siason added.
Mayor Floro Gandam said some of the slain rebels came from Davao de Oro, formerly known as Compostela Valley.
There have been persistent reports about the presence of NPA rebels in Barangay Ned in the past months, Gandam told the local media.
“They are recruiting members of the T’boli tribe to become communist rebels,” Gandam said, noting the NPA’s strength in the area “is weakening” with the surrender earlier this year of 36 alleged NPA rebels and supporters.
After the encounter, Siason said the troops recovered one 5.56 M-16 rifle, one Carbine rifle, one caliber .45 pistol, one caliber .40 pistol, improvised explosives, and antigovernment documents.
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