Alleged NPA rebel slain; high-powered guns seized in Masbate clashes

Alleged NPA rebel slain; high-powered guns seized in Masbate clashes

LEGAZPI CITY –– An alleged member of the New People’s Army (NPA) was killed while high-powered firearms were recovered in two separate encounters with state forces in the towns of Baleno and Mandaon in Masbate province on Wednesday morning.

Colonel Joriz Cantoria, Masbate police chief, said in a report that around 5 a.m. government forces encountered 15 armed men believed to be NPA guerrillas led by a certain Ka Jesmar VC in Barangay Eastern Capsay in Baleno.

The state troops were on pursuit operation after four village officials of Barangay Cabas-an in Aroroy town were abducted on Tuesday, Jan. 19.

Authorities recovered the body of a still-unidentified rebel, an M16 rifle, and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in the clash site.

About 40 minutes later, a separate team had a one-hour firefight with about 60 NPA rebels led by a certain Eddie/Arnold Rosero in Barangay Bat-Ongan in Mandaon, a separate report said.

Authorities recovered an M16 rifle, 12 Molotov bombs, a detached charging handle of an M16 rifle, 167 live bullets for 5.56mm, 44 live bullets for 7.62mm, four live bullets for a 12-gauge shotgun, dry cell batteries, a large IED, and other tools.

No casualties were reported on the government side.

On Tuesday, Victorino Bravo III, 35, a village councilman, and Arnel Retanan, 34, a village watchman, were killed, while village chief Aniano Apinig, 62, and Alden Vargas, 32, a village watchman, escaped after they were abducted around 5 a.m.