Cops, soldiers hunting rebels seal off island in Siargao

SAN FRANCISCO, AGUSAN DEL SUR (July 1) – Police and military forces have sealed off a small island in Siargao in Surigao del Norte following reports that New People’s Army rebels who attacked two police stations on Saturday night have been stranded there.

Senior Supt. Nestor Fajura, operations chief of the regional police based in Butuan City, said the NPA rebels’ two motorized boats suffered engine trouble and failed to join their comrades in their escape, and instead docked on Lapinigan island.

Divers have been scouring the seawaters to recover several firearms dropped by the rebels near the shore.

Two Huey helicopters equipped with machine guns were also hovering over the island to ensure the rebels would not be able to escape.
On Saturday night, at least 60 NPA rebels simultaneously attacked the adjacent Siargao island towns of General Luna and Dapa where they took several firearms. The rebels also ransacked government offices such as the fire station, the local water district, Social Security System, Philhealth, the local court and the Public Attorney’s Office.

Troops from the regional mobile group and the 30th Infantry Battalion based in Placer town conducted pursuit operations, leaving nine rebels dead.
Two policemen were also killed while two others were hurt in the Sunday skirmishes.

Fajura identified the fatalities as Insp. Ricky Arado and PO1 Serafin Manungas, while the wounded were PO1 Lloyd Bagnol and PO1 Francis Luib.
But AP and AFP reports say the casualties have reached 17, quoting a military spokesman. The NPA has also denied the casualties, according to an AFP report.

Meanwhile, in Nabunturan town in Compostela Valley, suspected NPA hitmen shot and killed two soldiers in a public market on Monday.

The soldiers were having their breakfast inside an eatery in Barangay Poblacion at around 8:30 a.m. when two armed men attacked them, said Supt. Ronald dela Rosa, Compostela Valley police director.

Dela Rosa identified the slain soldiers as Sergeant Rhizzan Alcos and Private First Class Estardian Gil Magno. (inquirer.net)

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