About 20 New People’s Army rebels yesterday swooped down on a market place in a remote barangay of Manjuyod town in Negros Oriental, and took control of it for more than one hour, in what authorities believed to be a strategy to ambush responding government troopers.
Brig. Gen. Benedict Arevalo, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, said that they advised the Manjuyod police not to proceed to the area, as they could be ambushed along the way.
While nobody was harmed among the residents at the market place, the rebels took the cellular phone and the two-way communication radio of barangay chairman Arsenio Cardiente, Brig. Gen. Ignacio Madriaga, 302nd Infantry Brigade commander, said.
The 302nd and 303rd Infantry Brigades are jointly operating against the New People’s Army in Negros Oriental.
Arevalo said they have already learned their lessons from the past, where government forces were ambushed, while responding to an incident, especially in remote areas, citing the Guihulngan incident two years ago, where six policemen were waylaid and killed by communist rebels.
Manjuyod Mayor Felix Sy, in an interview with Energy FM Dumaguete, said the rebels did not allow the entry and exit of vehicles in the barangay, until they left the area.
Madriaga said the NPA violated basic human rights and freedom of movements of residents in the barangay.
Arevalo said the NPA rebels may have wanted to retaliate against government troops, following the seizure of their bomb factory in Brgy. Camindangan, Sipalay City, that was a big loss to them.
Pursuit operations are now ongoing against the fleeing rebels, he added.*
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