GOVERNMENT forces have launched a pursuit operation against a group of armed men believed to members of the New People’s Army (NPA) who were behind in the ambush of a police patrol in a remote village in Surigao del Sur on Friday.
Reports reaching the PNP National Operation Center in Camp Crame said that SPO4 Jesus Labastilla was killed while PO2 Joy Turaja was wounded in the ambush that took place at about 9 a.m. on Friday in Purok-5, Poblacion in Cortes town.
The Surigao del Sur Provincial Police Office said a mobile patrol vehicle with four policemen were conducting a routine patrol operation when they were waylaid by the rebels.
The armed men withdrew from the area on board a Starex van and an Elf van and traveled towards the direction of Lanuza and Carmen towns.
Another ambush took place in the afternoon of the same day, when a group of armed men ambushed a patrol jeep of the Provincial Public Safety Company led by Supt. Edwin Noguera, the deputy provincial director of Surigao del Sur.
The reports said that the second ambush took place at around 3:30 p.m. in Matho town leaving SPO2 Herminio Ermila wounded.
The reports added that combined elements of the Surigao del Sur PPO and the Army’s 36th Infantry Battalion supported by two MG 520 attack helicopters from the army’s 402nd Infantry Brigade conducted pursuit operation.
They were joined by troops of the second Maneuver Company of the Regional Public Safety Battalion of Caraga police, led by Insp. Darwin Abainza in conducting pursuit operation against the retreating armed men.