KIDAPAWAN CITY – Government forces pursuing communist rebels involved in an ambush on President Duterte’s security personnel in Arakan, North Cotabato Wednesday killed a New People’s Army member in a separate encounter, police and military authorities said.
Army Captain Silver Belvis, spokesperson for the Army’s 39th Infantry Battalion, said Thursday that the body of the still unidentified NPA, who carried a bag containing an improvised explosive device, is now in the custody of the Arakan local government unit.
Belvis said the slain rebel was among the more than 50 NPA men under Commander Bobby who fled to Barangay Naplico, Arakan after engaging members of the Presidential Security Group (PSG) near a rebel-manned checkpoint in Bukidnon-Davao highway in Barangay Katipunan, Arakan, North Cotabato.
As they fled toward Barangay Naplico, they clashed with joint 39th IB troopers, militiamen and Arakan police units. The scene of encounter was about five kilometers from Barangay Katipinan.
Supt. Romeo Galgo Jr, speaking for police in Region 12, said personnel of the Arakan municipal police are still trying to identify the NPA fatality.
Citing intelligence information, Belvis said the rebels belonging to NPA’s Guerilla Front 56 gathered in Barangay Katipunan before dawn and set up a checkpoint to flag down public transport vehicles. EOF/PNA
Residents first noticed they were in military fatigue uniform with patches of 3rd Infantry Battalion. But Belvis said the locals noticed they arrived on foot and not on military KM-45 vehicle the Army regularly use.
They became suspicious and tried to alert village officials when automatic gun fires were heard.
Belvis said the PSG personnel noticed something wrong with the checkpoint so its driver decided to pass through, hitting the Task Force Davao signage followed by automatic gunfire.
Galgo said as the rebels fled toward Naplico on board two vehicles, they picked a militiaman along the way, used him as human shield and executed him later. A man later named Rogelio Genon, a police civilian agent, was also abducted. His fate remained unknown. EOF/PNA