Eleven suspected members of the New People’s Army believed to be fleeing from an encounter site in Brgy. Quintin Remo, Moises Padilla, were intercepted and arrested by the police on Monday in Brgy. Sebucawan, Isabela, Negros Occidental.
Four of the 11 arrested suspected NPA rebels were positively identified by witnesses as among those involved in the killing of Moises Padilla Councilor Jolomar Hilario on Sunday in Brgy. Inolingan, Moises Padilla, Negros Occidental, town police chief Capt. Junji Liba yesterday said.
Liba said that the 11 suspected NPA rebels, who included two minors, were intercepted by 2nd Provincial Mobile Force Company troops, who had served as the blocking force of the 62nd Infantry Battalion soldiers, who figured in an encounter on Monday in Sitio Santos-Santos, Brgy. Quintin Remo, Moises Padilla, a barangay adjacent to Brgy. Sebucawan, Isabela.
Moises Padilla police investigation showed that the 11 persons claimed to be cane cutters. However, nocane cutting toolswere recovered from the intercepted persons, who wereinconsistent in their statements given to the police, Liba said.
Liba added that Misel Hilario, wife of the slain Moises Padilla councilor, identified the four suspects who had entered their compound on Sunday.
Murder charges are now being readied by the police against the 11 suspected NPA rebels, now detained at Moises Padilla Police Station jail.
Additional police personnel have already been dispatched by the Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office to augment the Moises Padilla Police Station, in response to the series of violent activities perpetrated by the New People’s Army in the hinterland barangays of thetown.
The running gunbattle between Army soldiers and NPA rebels in Brgy. Quintin Remo, Moises Padilla, led to the dislocation of more than 2,700 residents, who yesterday began returning to their homes, Liba said.
Other evacuees were temporarily staying at the Mamballo, Montilla, Coyaoyao barangay covered courts, and the Nacorohan Elementary School, while waiting for advice from authorities to return to their homes.
The 62nd Infantry Battalion soldiers, who were scouring the encounter site, recovered three anti-personnel mines, including detonating accessories, such as a 300-meter electric wire, blasting caps, M-203 grenade launcher ammunition, two magazines of a AK-47 rifles, and two back packs containing personal belongings.
Brig. Gen. Benedict Arevalo, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, yesterday said that the running gunbattle lasted for more than one hour, as the NPA rebels tried to delay the pursuing troops while trying to extricate their injured companions, to the extent of detonating two anti-personnel mines.
An Army soldier was slightly injured in the gunbattle.
Arevalo also said residents of the area had mistaken injured and killed communist rebels,who were wearing military uniforms, as Army soldiers.*
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