NPA raid bloodless, but heads rolled in police force
TACLOBAN CITY—No shots were fired and no one was hurt during a raid by New People’s Army (NPA) rebels on a police station in a town in Eastern Samar, one of the country’s poorest provinces, on Monday.
But heads rolled following the NPA raid in the police station of Balangkayan town, which succeeded in stripping the police station of 17 firearms, laptops and policemen’s personal belongings.
The town police chief, Senior Insp. Gilberto Polima, and the five policemen on duty, identified by their surnames only—SPO4 Montero, PO3 Opriasaya, PO1 Azura, PO1 Globio and PO1 Buenafe—were removed from their posts pending results of an investigation.
At least 20 rebels overpowered five policemen on duty around 7:30 p.m. on Monday, according to Senior Supt. Romeo Campomanes, Eastern Samar provincial police chief.
Balangkayan, at least 158 kilometers from this city, has 22 policemen for a population of more than 10,000 spread in 15 villages.
Campomanes said the first group of rebels, seen wearing shorts, barged into the police station brandishing hand guns and identifying themselves as NPA members.
A second group of rebels followed, wielding assault rifles, according to Campomanes.
The rebels ordered the five policemen to lie flat on the ground as the rest of the rebel group ransacked the police station armory and took 16 Armalite rifles and a shotgun.
The rebels also seized two laptops, uniforms and personal belongings.
Senior Insp. Polima, the town police chief, was not around during the raid.
Campomanes said the raid lasted for only 20 minutes. The station policemen, he said in a phone interview, “were surprised and overpowered.”
From the police station, the rebels fled to the direction of Barangays Balogo and Tigbao, both interior villages of Balangkayan.
Soldiers from the 14th Infantry Battalion, based in another town of Eastern Samar, Oras, were sent to pursue the rebels.
Campomanes said an investigation is being conducted to determine any lapses that may have been committed by the Balangkayan police force.
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