ZAMBOANGA CITY – New People’s Army rebels stormed a police headquarters in Misamis Occidental on Saturday – the second attack in just two days in the southern Philippines – and seized assorted weapons.
Officials said the about 30 rebels disarmed policemen guarding the headquarters in the town of Don Victoriano Chiongbian. They seized a machinegun, an M203 grenade launcher, seven automatic rifles and nine handguns from the police arsenal before escaping towards Zamboanga del Sur.
Troops sent to pursue the fleeing rebels clashed with the NPA band in the village of Bag-ong Tudela in Josefina town.
Capt. Jefferson Somera, a spokesman for the 1st Infantry Division, has confirmed the fighting and said members of the 55thInfantry Battalion were dispatched to go after the rebels. “The fighting lasted over 25 minutes and we foiled the NPA plan to detonated landmines in the area to sow down the military pursuit,” he told The Manila Times Saturday night.
Somera said that in September, army troops killed a senior NPA commander, Henry Celajes, in an encounter in Misamis Occidental’s Tudela town. Celajes was the deputy secretary of the communist group in western Mindanao.
Rebel forces recently raided the police headquarters in Kibawe town in Bukidnon near Misamis and killed and wounded five officers.