NPA rebels raid Misamis Occidental police station

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Sunday, December 15, 2013

CAGAYAN DE ORO -- Around 30 New People’s Army (NPA) rebels clad in military uniform raided the police station based in Don Victoriano Chiongbian town in Misamis Occidental Saturday morning.

Lieutenant Colonel Rommel Almaria, commanding officer of the 55th Infantry Battalion of 1st Infantry (Tabak) Division based in Labangan town in Zamboanga del Sur, said the rebels disarmed the policeman on duty and carted away one .60 machine gun, M203 grenade launcher, seven armalite rifles, nine handguns, and ammunition of different caliber.

He said the incident happened around 5 a.m. Saturday, adding that the rebels withdrew and headed toward the hinterland of Josefina town in Zamboanga del Sur using a getaway vehicle.

An hour later, troops belonging to the 55th Infantry Battalion who responded to the incident encountered undetermined number of rebels who tried to ambush them in Barangay Bag-ong Tudela in Josefina town. A firefight for 25 minutes ensued between the soldiers and the rebels.

Almaria said the rebels withdrew toward various directions when their plan to raid the Josefina town police station was foiled.

“The rebels detonated landmine but it failed to inflict casualty to the soldiers,” he said.

The incident could have been a retaliation to the death of notorious rebel leader, Henry Celajes, also known as Jongjong, who was the deputy secretary of the NPA Western Mindanao command.

Celajes was allegedly killed in an encounter in Barangay Gala in Tudela town, Misamis Occidental in September this year.

Almaria said that Celajes was responsible for the burning of numerous road engineering equipment and poultry farms in Misamis Occidental and Zamboanga del Sur in the past years. The rebels allegedly extorted from these farms and when they failed to pay their fees, the rebels burned their equipment and facilities.

Meanwhile, troops belonging to the 20th Special Forces Company under the 6th Special Forces Battalion encountered rebels in Barangay Bato in Sindangan, Zamboanga del Norte also on December 14.

The troops recovered one Garand rifle, ammunition and subversive documents. There were no reported casualties on the government side.

As of Sunday, the police and the military were tracking down the fleeing rebels.

On December 12, one police was shot dead and three others were wounded when the Maoist rebels raided Kibawe police station. The rebels used around seven getaway vans and pickup trucks and carted away 13 firearms.

The rebels owned up the said attack. (GCA/Bong Garcia/Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro/Sunnex)

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on December 16, 2013.

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