Philippines: 4 communist rebels, 1 soldier killed in firefight

4th Aug 2015
Philippines: 4 communist rebels, 1 soldier killed in firefight

By Hader Glang

 

ZAMBOANGA CITY, (AA): At least four communist rebels and a soldier have been killed in a firefight following an ambush by an insurgent group in Masbate island province in the Philippines north.

Av Inquirer.net report said that the firefight ensued after members of the New People’s Army – the armed wing of the communist party – ambushed a joint military-police team who were about to implement search and arrest warrants in Bicol region, Luzon at around 5 p.m. (1000GMT) Monday.

Citing a statement from Chief Inspector Marvin Federe, Provincial Officer of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group Masbate, the report said the lawmen had been dispatched to arrest Dindo Monsanto, one of the most wanted people in the area.

Federe said that government troops were also about to serve search warrants on two village officials.

“Operating troops have already extricated themselves from the ambush area. The troops are now in the Barangay Hall of Del Carmen,” he added.

Authorities said improvised explosives and a .45-caliber pistol were recovered from the scene.

On Aug. 1, one of the party’s top leaders in Western Visayas, Maria Concepcion “Concha” Araneta-Bocala was arrested after a ten year hunt.

Araneta-Bocala had a P7.8 million ($171,000) bounty on her head and was wanted on murder and rebellion charges.

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines, the political wing of the party, has condemned the arrest, calling it “illegal.”

The NPA has led a campaign in rural areas and in small-scale skirmishes with the military since 1969.

Peace talks between the government and rebels have taken place sporadically over the years, but they stalled in  2011.

As of late last year, there were estimated to be about 4,700 NPA rebels, mainly in the poorest areas of the Philippines.

The group is listed on the “Foreign Terrorist Organization” list of the U.S. State Department.

 

[Photo: A man paddles a boat to ferry the passengers inside the submerged residential compund at Artex in Malabon City, North of Manila. August 2015. Photographer: John Jerome E. Ganzon/Anadolu Agency]

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