By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
A suspected New People’s Army (NPA) member was captured late Tuesday afternoon following a shootout at Sitio Bunga in Barangay Salong, Kabankalan City.
Based on information forwarded by the Philippine Army 303rd Infantry Brigade (303IB), they identified the presumed NPA rebel as 21-year-old Arnel ‘Ka July’ Sairot, a resident of Escalante City, Negros Occidental.
According to the 303IB, units from the 15th Infantry Battalion were conducting combat operations when they encountered around nine fully-armed NPA rebels.
A gun battle ensued for five minutes before the rebels split up and fled in different directions, while Sairot was captured by pursuing government forces.
Soldiers recovered several firearms, a fragmentation grenade, radio set, two mobile phones, and subversive documents.
Also recovered was an extortion letter addressed to a construction company operating in the area.
While government forces did not report any casualties or injuries, it is currently unknown if the rebel group suffered casualties.
Government forces are presently conducting hot-pursuit operations against the other NPA rebels./DGB, WDJ