THE chief of police of Matalam in North Cotabato and three of his men narrowly escaped an ambush attempt by New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in Barangay Kibia, on Friday. Report to Camp Crame said Senior Insp. Sunny Leoncito and his men were on board a police patrol car for a meeting in the village when a landmine, believed planted by NPA rebels, exploded about one meter away from them. They traded shots with the rebels posted in a nearby hill who later withdrew towards Barangay Salvacion also in Matalam. Recovered from the ambush site were PVC pipes, wirings and shrapnel. Matalam is among the towns where NPA rebels maintain strong presence.