Friday, November 5, 2010

One NPA Rebel Killed, One Soldier Hurt as Fresh Fighting Erupts in Masbate

WOUNDED WARRIOR. 1st Lieutenant Michael Morales (2nd from left), is assisted by medical personnel of the 9th Infantry Division as upon his arrival in Camp Elias Angeles in Pili, Camarines Sur. Morales sustained gunshot wounds in his head and left arm during an encounter with 20 heavily armed NPA bandits in a hinterland village of Pina in San Jacinto town, Masbate. (Photo by Pfc Marlon San Esteban PA)

MILAGROS, Masbate – A NPA bandit lay dead and one military officer was wounded in a fresh fighting in Masbate island, a military official said here today.

LtCol Anthony Purugganan, the Commander of the 9th Infantry Battalion which has jurisdiction over the whole Masbate Province, said that he sent a platoon of soldiers led by 1st Lieutenant Michael Morales supported by 10-man police contingent led by Police Inspector Jan King Calipay after receiving a ‘hot’ information regarding the presence of 20 heavily-armed bandits in Sitio Hanlas, Pina village in the town of San Jacinto.

“My soldiers were approaching the bandits’ position at around 6:00am when the heavy exchange of fires erupted. An unidentified NPA rebel was killed while several others were wounded after the 10-minute clash,” said Purugganan.

Morales sustained gunshot head in his head and left arm. He was airlifted to a hospital in Naga City for treatment.

Pursuit operations is still underway as soldiers engaged the rebels in a running gun battle as of 7:00am. Government troops are following the blood trails along the bandits’ route of withdrawal.

Purugganan reported that his troops confiscated a Cal 5.56mm M653 Rifle (Baby Armalite) and a Cal .45 M1911A1 Pistol from the bandits. Several rounds of ammunitions for M16 rifle and some subversive documents were also accounted by the soldiers.

The government forces in Masbate have intensified its campaign against various armed groups which are blamed for the spate of killings in the island province.

Yesterday (November 4), at 12:00nn, combined elements of AFP and PNP personnel belonging to the Special Task Force Masbate under SSupt Henry Raniola confiscated 4 highpowered firearms in a raid against suspected ‘private armies’ in Cabitan village in Mandaon town.

Seized during the raid were one 12-gauge shotgun, a Cal 5.56mm M16 Rifle, an M1 Garand Rifle and 1 Cal .30 M1 Carbine Rifle. The suspected leader of the group, Mr Revis Lapida, was arrested and is now facing raps for illegal possession of firearms.

A manhunt operation is also conducted to apprehend two other companions of Lapida whom policemen identified as husband and wife named Roy and Grace Colimlim.

The couple evaded arrest but 3 firearms were confiscated inside their house during the raid.
Government troops have scored at least 14 highpowered firearms and 12 suspected private armed goons in Masbate since the activation of the Joint Coordinating Center for Private Armies in August 2010.

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