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Alert up as 3 NPA rebs killed in clashes in Camarines Sur, Norte

BASUD, Camarines Norte—The Army on Tuesday put its troops in the Bicol region on alert after three suspected communist rebels were killed in separate clashes in the provinces of Camarines Sur and Camarines Norte on Monday.

Brig. Gen. Allan Martin, deputy commander of the 9th Infantry Division in Bicol, said military officials were anticipating an increased movement of New People’s Army (NPA) rebels as the communist group’s 47th founding anniversary neared.

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Martin said they were monitoring reports that members of the central committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) in the region would hold an assembly in time for the NPA’s anniversary on March 29.

Col. Ferozaldo Paul Regencia, deputy commander of the 902nd Infantry Brigade operating in Camarines Norte, said two clashes between rebels and government soldiers happened in the province on Monday.

Regencia said the first encounter broke out at 6 a.m. in Barangay Alanaw in Lupi town but no one was killed in the clash. About 12 hours later, another firefight between Army soldiers and NPA rebels erupted in Barangay San Rafael in the neighboring town of Basud, some 28 km from the site of the first encounter, killing two rebels.

He said government troops used a helicopter to retrieve the slain rebels at past 11 a.m. Tuesday. The bodies were taken to the Basud police station so these could be identified by their relatives.

Also on Monday, another NPA rebel was killed in a clash with government troops in Barangay Antolon in Caramoan town in Camarines Sur, Army reports said.

The slain rebel was part of a group of 15 that engaged government soldiers in a 15-minute firefight, said Lt. Colonel Angelo Guzman, spokesperson for the military’s Southern Luzon Command (Solcom).

In a statement, Guzman said Army soldiers recovered seven firearms, 34 pieces of improvised explosive devices (IED), bullets, backpacks and antigovernment documents after the encounters in Camarines Sur and Camarines Norte.

He said Army soldiers in Oriental Mindoro also recovered an M60 machine gun in an operation against NPA rebels in Barangay Morente in Bongabong town early Monday.

Government troops have been pursuing NPA rebels in Oriental Mindoro after the death of an Army soldier and four members of the Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit (Cafgu) in an encounter in Bongabong last week.

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Several bomb explosions, supposedly initiated by communist rebels, rocked the island province of Masbate last week. Military reports said at least 11 explosions occurred in different parts of the province. Two policemen were hurt in these incidents.

Lt. General Visaya, Solcom chief, ordered military units in Southern Luzon to intensify the government’s counterinsurgency operations.

“We want to put an end to the fears and sufferings of the people living in the countryside,” Visaya said in a statement.

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TAGS: Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, New People's Army, NPA
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