5 suspected communist-rebels killed in NegOr encounter
CEBU CITY, Philippines – At least five suspected members of a communist-rebel group were killed after a half-hour gunfight involving law enforcers past Thursday midnight, June 18, 2020, in Mabinay town, Negros Oriental.
Among those who were reportedly killed was identified as Sayas Ribilista, one of the suspects in the massacre of four policemen in Ayungon town, which is located 72 kilometers southwest of Mabinay, last July 2019.
READ MORE: 4 cops dead in NPA ambush in Negros Oriental
In a report issued to the media, state troops said members from the 11th and 94th Infantry Battalions of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Regional Mobile Force Battalion in Central Visayas (RMFB – 7), and the Mabinay police went to Sitio Talingting in Barangay Luyang to serve a warrant of arrest issued by Judge Rosario Cariaga of Bais Regional Trial Court.
But they said a firefight ensued after armed men from the New People’s Army (NPA) open-fired at the incoming law enforcers.
The 30-minute encounter that began around 12:45 a.m. on Thursday resulted in the death of five communist-rebels, including Ribilista, state forces said. No law enforcer was hurt in the incident.
Troops seized several firearms and explosives from the dead rebels such as three M16 rifles, one AK47 with a defaced serial number, one caliber .45 pistol with a defaced serial number, three AK47 magazines, four rifle grenades, one Improvised Explosive Device (IED).
According to the military, they received information from residents in Sitio Talingting in Barangay Luyang of Ribilista’s presence prior to the encounter.
“This is a clear manifestation that the local residents do not want to be deceived again by the lies of these NPA terrorists. It also shows that EO 70 and the Negros Oriental Task-Force to End the Local Communist Armed Conflict (NOTF-ELCAC) is up and running,” Lieutenant Colonel Ramir Redosendo, commanding officer of the 11th Infantry Battalion, was quoted saying.
“We appeal to the members and supporters of the Communist NPA Terrorists (CNTs) to surrender, return to the folds of the law, and avail government’s reintegration program to avoid suffering the same fate that had happened to your peers,” he added.
Last July 2019, four police were killed in an ambush in Ayungon, a second-class municipality in Negros Oriental.
The NPA eventually claimed some of their members were behind the crime, saying that policemen spying in operations led to the multiple killings in the province. At least three suspects tied to the incident have been arrested. /bmjo
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