Two visiting foreigners and a Negrense were injured in another ambush staged by suspected New People's Army rebels at about 1:15 p.m. yesterday along the national highway of Sitio Sojoton, Brgy. Caliling, Cauayan, Negros Occidental.
Injured were Karl Christer Arvidson, 48, of Brazil, Juliana Eeiko Palmero, 42, of Switzerland, and Jason Tumayao of Brgy Alijiis, Bacolod City.
Lt. Col. Antonio Tumnog, commanding officer of the 1st Negros Island Geographical Battalion, however, said he believes that the targets of the suspected NPA ambushers were the Cauayan policemen, who had responded to a reported robbery incident in the place.
Fortunately, none of the five policemen who responded to the reported robbery-hold-up incident, on board a Mahindra police vehicle, were hit, Tumnog said.
Chief Inspector Gary Alan Resuma, Cauayan police chief, told the DAILY STAR last night that the five Cauayan police personnel were on their way to Sipalay City, to pick up an arrested murder suspect, when they were also informed about a robbery-hold-up where a foreigner was victimized in Brgy. Caliling, Cauayan.
Resuma said that while negotiating an uphill climb along the curved portion of the national highway of Sitio Buta, the Mahindra police vehicle were fired upon, as it was overtaking the red Isuzo Crosswind vehicle, that the two Swedish national were riding.
The ambushers, instead, hit the civilian vehicle, while the five policemen managed to get out from the “killing zone”, hide under the ravine, that served as their cover, while returning fire to their rebel ambushers, who were positioned above them, Resuma said.
The gunbattle lasted for about 15 minutes after which their ambushers fled, he added.
Citing reports of civilians, three of the ambushers were injured, and were seen being carried away by their companions as they were withdrawing from the ambush site, Resuma said.
Tumnog said Army soldiers from 1st NIGB headquarters, accompanied by a V-150 armored personnel carrier, stationed in Brgy. Tiling, Cauayan, who responded to the reported ambush, were still tracking down the fleeing rebels, as of last night.
Palmero was hit on her shoulder, while Arvidsson sustained a gunshot wound in his left hand.
Tumayao, on the other hand, had gunshot wounds on the left side of his face, his stomach and left thigh, Resuma said.
The injured victims, who were on their way to Sipalay City, were rushed to the Lorenzo Zayco District Hospital in Kabankalan City for initial treatment of their injuries, They were later transferred to the Bacolod Adventist Medical Center in Bacolod City.
Resuma said the three victims are now in stable conditions.
Resuma raised the possibility that the person who informed them of a robbery-hold-up incident, may have been used to lure the Cauayan policemen to the area.
A similar modus operandi was also employed by the NPA when they ambushed and killed six policemen, who responded to reports, also of an ambush, in Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental,on July 21.
Senior Supt. Rodolfo Castil, provincial police director of Negros Occidental, yesterday called on the police not to lower their vigilance in responding to reported crime incidents.*GPB
back to top