By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
At least four suspected members of the New People’s Army (NPA) were killed, while another, an alleged high-ranking NPA leader, was arrested after they engaged in a gun battle with the government troops at Sitio Balik-balik, Barangay Tabug in Negros Occidental’s Ilog town yesterday morning.
Police have yet to identify the four fatalities, while the alleged NPA leader’s identity has also not yet been revealed as of press time.
Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office (NOCPPO) spokesperson, Police Lt. Abegael Donasco, said members of the Special Action Force (SAF) of the Philippine National Police, 2nd Negros Occidental Provincial Mobile Force Company (NOCPMFC) and 302nd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army encountered the still undetermined number of suspected NPA rebels at around 7:20 a.m.
The gun battle lasted for at least 10 minutes until the insurgents were forced to retreat.
Aside from the four insurgents who were killed, initial information gathered by police on the ground indicated that rebels may have also suffered at least three wounded on their side.
The police, meanwhile, did not suffer any casualties.
Nine people also found near the encounter site have also been held for questioning.
Cops recovered four M16 assault rifles in the encounter site.
As of press time, clearing operations are still ongoing./DGB, WDJ