By Mike Crismundo
BUTUAN CITY – An alleged New People’s Army (NPA) rebel was killed while an undetermined number of other rebels were believed wounded when a gunbattle erupted late Thursday afternoon between the police force and communist insurgents at the mountain barangay of El Rio, Sibagat town, Agusan del Sur province, a sketchy report reaching the police regional headquarters here Friday said.
In a flash report received by the command and tactical operation center of Northeastern Mindanao Police Regional Office 13 (PRO 13) based at Camp Rafael C. Rodriguez here from Agusan del Sur Police Provincial Office (PPO) and Sibagat Municipal Police Station (MPS), said gunbattle started at 3 o’clock in the afternoon on Thursday.
The gunbattle took place when elements of Sibagat MPS who boarded their patrol car on their way to their station from Barangay Afga of that same town assisting the personnel of the social welfare and development in extending payouts to 4Ps beneficiaries when waylaid by an undetermined number of NPAs, armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).
However, the members of Sibagat MPS quickly jumped off their vehicle and managed to maneuver in the vantage position that resulted in the firefight, a field report said.
Elements of 2nd Maneuver Platoon of Provincial Public Safety Company and 8th Special Force Company also arrived to beef up the Sibagat MPS forces.
In his initial report to Northeastern Mindanao PRO 13 regional director Chief Supt. Rolando B. Felix, Agusan del Sur Police Provincial Office (PPO) director Senior Supt. Joseph D. Plaza said the rebels disengaged in the firefight after five minutes and fled to a nearby mountain, for fear of more government security force reinforcements from Sibagat town and neighboring areas.
Operating troops seized from the slain rebel one AK 47 rifle, one bandolier and four magazines of AK 47 rifle containing 91 live ammunitions and some assorted live bullets, Plaza said.
The encountered rebels were believed members of the CPP-NPA Northeastern Mindanao regional committee, he said.
No one was reported hurt in the Sibagat police force, he said.
Identity of the slain rebel was not immediately known.
Meanwhile, Felix ordered the regional and provincial mobile force commanders to assist the Agusan del Sur PPO and Sibagat MPS to pursue without letup the fleeing rebels in Sibagat mountains.