Communist insurgents ambushed police trainees on Friday, killing one and wounding nine others in the latest of a series of attacks on unarmed targets, officials said.
Nearly a hundred trainees, including about 70 women, were jogging in Sitio Cabu-nangan of the northern mountain town of Tadian in Mountain Province on Friday when guerrillas from the New Peo-ple’s Army (NPA) opened fire on them, said regional police spokesman Davy Limmong.
“For many years, we have had no ambushes in this area. The area is secured by the army and our patrols and we were near the town center so we did not expect this attack,” he said.
The attack comes soon after NPA fighters kidnapped five unarmed soldiers in Mindanao on June 18 and killed eight unarmed police commandoes in the main island of Luzon in May.
They also killed five timber plantation workers in a raid in the south on June 18.
National police spokesman Reuben Sindac said strikes against unarmed targets was typical of the guerrillas.
“The NPA do not distinguish between combatant or non-combatant. They have carried out similar hostilities against medical missions and civic action personnel,” he said in a statement.
Interior Secretary Mar Roxas 2nd condemned in the strongest terms the “senseless” ambush.
The trainees were unarmed and were on their regular morning jog when they were fired upon.
“This makes the attack more shocking and senseless since it was carried out without any provocation,” Roxas said.
Reports reaching Camp Crame said 24 trainees are still missing from the members of the modified Philippine National Police Sierra Scout in their routine morning jogging in the area.
Killed was Police Officer 1 (PO1) Denver Balabag; wounded were Police Inspector Bantas, PO1 Delnuan, PO1 Daketan, PO1 Ngalawen, PO1 Salve, PO1 Maludon, PO1 Benito and PO1 Sari. They were immediately taken to the Luis Hora hospital in Tadian.
PNP said operatives of the Second Company RPSB based in Babalaan, Tadian immediately responded and went after the rebels.
The NPA has been waging a 44-year Maoist armed campaign that has claimed at least 30,000 lives. The military estimates the guerrillas’ ranks at about 4,000 fighters.
The administration of President Benigno Aquino 3rd had opened peace talks aimed at ending the communist insurgency before his term expires in 2016 but the negotiations collapsed allegedly over communist demands.
The chief government negotiator with the communists resigned earlier this month, citing his frustration with the stalled talks.
AFP WITH REPORT FROM