5 dead, 16 hurt in AFP-NPA clash

By Roel Pareño

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – Three New People’s Army (NPA) rebels and two soldiers were killed in an encounter in Zamboanga del Norte on Sunday. 

A rebel died and six others were wounded when soldiers of the 44th Infantry Battalion and 20th Special Forces Company encountered the rebels in Sitio Biwa, Barangay Titik in Leon Postego town at about 4:50 a.m.

Soldiers recovered at least 15 improvised bombs, ammunition and medical equipment from the  rebels.

Army troopers who conducted pursuit operations for the rebels were ambushed in Sitio Lubi, Barangay Tinaplan, Sindangan town, leaving two soldiers and two rebels dead.

Ten soldiers were also wounded while a military truck was damaged.

The identities of the slain soldiers were withheld pending notification of their respective families. The wounded were taken to the Dipolog Provincial Hospital for treatment.

Cagayan Valley cops on alert

Meanwhile, the Cagayan Valley police was placed on alert following recent attacks by NPA rebels.

Police chiefs were ordered to heighten security and take precautionary measures. Police were ordered to wear their full battle uniform and always bring their service firearms. 

“They were directed to execute a defense plan for the security of their police stations or units in anticipation of any attack by communist rebels,” Chief Superintendent Robert Quenery, Cagayan Valley police director said yesterday. 

“We will not allow our installations to be raided without putting up a fight. Let us go back to the golden age of treating our firearms as our wife,” said Quenery.

On Friday, five members of the Provincial Public Safety Company and a 60-year-old farmer were wounded in a landmine attack in Barangay Diduyon, Maddela, Quirino. 

On Tuesday last week, six soldiers were wounded when a landmine exploded in Purok Abbag, Barangay Dipantin, Nagtipunan.  

NPA rebels also raided police stations in Maddela in Quirino and Amulung, Cagayan recently, taking several firearms and police vehicles. – With Victor Martin   

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