NPA’s regional ordnance chief among 5 slain in South Cotabato
DAVAO CITY –– The military identified one of the five New People’s Army (NPA) recently slain in a pre-dawn raid in Lake Sebu town of South Cotabato as an ordnance expert, his wife, and three other comrades.
Romeo Libron (alias Melvin), the chief of the NPA’s regional ordnance for Southern Mindanao, was killed following a law enforcement operation shortly before 5 a.m. on Wednesday in the village of Ned, said Lt. Col. Randy Banaag, commander of 5th Special Forces Battalion.
Also slain in the operation was Libron’s deputy commander, Rogelio Magsaya; Libron’s wife Merly; a certain Macoy, who was a member of the rebel’s Front 56; and another guerilla identified only as Megz.
Banaag said Libron’s group resisted arrest when soldiers were about to serve an arrest warrant against him for murder, resulting in a 20-minute firefight.
“Upon approaching the target house operating troops were fired upon by an undetermined number of armed men, prompting the former to return fire,” Banaag said.
He said the wounded NPA fighters were brought to the Lantao Hospital in the nearby town of Sto. Niño, but were declared dead on arrival.
Soldiers recovered assorted weapons, ammunition, homemade bombs from the rebels’ hideout, the military official said.
Town mayor Floro Gandam told reporters the slain rebels were from Compostella town of Davao de Oro. “They were identified by residents and were (allegedly) involved in the recruitment in the town,” he said.
Major General Juvymax Uy, commander of the 6th Division and Joint Task Force Central, credited the strong cooperation of communities for the success of the operation.
The killing of the five NPA rebels came days after Jevilyn Campos Cullamat, 22, the daughter of Bayan Muna Rep. Eufemia Cullamat, was killed in a clash between government troops and the NPA in the jungle of Surigao del Sur.
The military said Jevilyn was serving as a medic for the youth propaganda wing of the NPA, the armed group of the Communist Party of the Philippines that had been waging an armed rebellion in the country since 1968.
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