Cops blame rebels for slay of 3 villagers
At least three persons were killed after 15 villagers were abducted by suspected communist rebels in Aroroy town, Masbate province, on Tuesday, police said.
Reports from the Masbate police said Victorino Bravo III, a councilman of Cabas-an, and Arnel Retanan, a watchman, were shot and killed when at least 30 armed men, believed to be New People’s Army (NPA) rebels, rounded up the villagers.
Another man, identified as Norberto Buri, was also confirmed to have been killed by the group, police said.
The village chief, Aniano Capinig, 62, managed to escape, but his companion, a village watchman named Alden Javier, 30, was wounded, police said.
Police Col. Joriz Cantoria, provincial police director, said Buri was not a resident of Cabas-an but was mistaken by the abductors for a rebel returnee. Buri, he said, was a truck helper of a construction company transporting coconut lumber in the area.
Cantoria said police investigators were not able to reach Cabas-an immediately due to its remote location and security concerns.
Police said an NPA unit led by one “Ka Cris” and one “Ka Aris” carried out the abduction and killing in Cabas-an.
A police pursuit on Wednesday in the towns of Baleno and Mandaon resulted in a firefight with rebels. A still unidentified rebel was killed while several firearms were recovered in one of the clash sites, police said.
Two suspected rebels were arrested at a checkpoint set up by the police in Masbate City.
Marcelo Alvarez, 39, and Roy Rosas Jr., 27, were on board an unregistered motorcycle when they were flagged down at Barangay Usab in Masbate City on Wednesday.
Police Maj. Steve dela Rosa, Masbate City police chief, said the checkpoint was set up as part of police actions to block the possible escape routes of rebels who had clashed with government forces in the village of Bat-ongan of Mandaon and in Eastern Capsay in Baleno town that morning.
Dela Rosa said Alvarez yielded two handguns and a loaded magazine.
He said the two were believed to be part of an NPA unit led by “Ka Star,” which operates in Masbate City and the towns of Balud, Mandaon, Baleno and Aroroy. —MA. APRIL MIER-MANJARES
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