Renewed skirmishes; 3 suspected NPA ‘rebels’ killed in Negros encounters

Posted by watchmen
February 23, 2024
Posted in HEADLINE

By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga

The number of suspected New People’s Army (NPA) insurgents killed in a series of encounters in northern Negros has climbed to three.

Lt. Colonel Arnel Calaogan, the Philippine Army’s 79th Infantry Battalion (79IB) commander, said they have yet to identify the three fatalities — two males and a young woman — all killed during the first encounter on Wednesday, February 21 at 11:10 a.m.

The villagers checked their remains in an attempt to identify them, but they claimed that the casualties were not residents of the area.

The 79IB believed they are remnants of the dismantled NPA’s Northern Negros Front.

Calaogan said among the suspected rebels they engaged with was notorious NPA leader, Arnel Tapang, a wanted fugitive with a P1 million bounty.

He said the three encounters took place at Sitio Mansulao in Escalante City’s Barangay Pinapugasan, bordering Toboso town.

Residents reported that the suspected rebels were extorting food and supplies from them.

The second encounter happened at 2:17 p.m., followed by a third gun battle yesterday around 6:00 a.m.

Meanwhile, three soldiers and a Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit personnel were wounded in the gun battle.

Calaogan confirmed that they are in stable condition.

The 79IB seized an AK-47 assault rifle, an M653 assault rifle, a .45 caliber pistol, rifle grenades, and anti-personnel mines from the encounter sites.

Also recovered were mobile phones, commercial radios, bandoliers, backpacks containing personal belongings, and subversive documents.

On the other hand, Escalante Mayor Melecio Yap, Jr. condemned the series of gun battles in his locality.

In a social media post, Yap appealed to the suspected rebels in Cebuano, calling them to surrender, adding that they would be treated well and would receive assistance as long as they return to the folds of the law./DGB, WDJ




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