Rebels, soldiers clash; 4 killed, 1 injured in Ilocos Sur

LAGANGILANG, Abra, Philippines – At least four persons, including two government troopers, were killed while a soldier and several other rebels were injured in series of encounter between the Philippine Army (PA) soldiers and the members of the New People’s Army (NPA) in the mountainous areas in Cervantes, Ilocos Sur, it was reported here yesterday.

Colonel Eliseo Posadas, Commander of the army’s 503rd Brigade based in Lagangilang, Abra, identified the two slain soldiers as Private First Class (Pfc.) Benjamin Ventura and Pfc. George Gabor, both elements of the army’s 50th Infantry Batallion under the command of the army’s 503rd Brigade.

Injured during the encounter was identified as Pfc. Jessie Camacho, also a member of the army’s 50th Infantry Batallion.

Posadas also identified the two slain NPA rebels as Benny Aguilar, AKA “Likot,” a native from Sampaloc, Manila; and one Delfin Tibangulayan, AKA Dindo, a resident from Barangay Paglinangan, Tubo, Abra. Both were members of the NPA’s Kilusang Larangang Guerilya (KLG) Montes operating at the tri-boundaries of provinces of Abra, Mountain Province and Ilocos Sur.

Posadas reported that the first encounter happened on September 23, 2011 in the outskirt Barangay Remedios, Cervantes, Ilocos Sur where the government troop’s foot patrol were ambushed by unnumbered armed men that resulted to the wounding of Pfc. Camacho.
The soldiers retaliated and gained vantage ground during the encounter which forced the rebels to scamper from the site dragging the wounded NPA rebels going to the mountainous area in Barangay Aluling also in Cervantes town.

During clearing operations, the soldiers recovered three M- 16 Armalite rifles, one M-14 rifles, icom radios, voluminous subversive documents and personal belongings left behind by the rebels.

Posadas said that the second encounter happened the next day (Saturday) where the soldiers were conducting hot pursuit operations in Barangay Aluling, Cervantes town. The soldiers were again ambushed by the rebels that resulted to the death of rebel Benny Aguilar, a.k.a. “Likot” and Pfc. Benjamin Ventura. The rebels were scampered again to different directions during the encounter.

The third encounter took place in Barangay Concepcion, Cervantes town last Monday where soldiers responded to the request of an alleged NPA’s relatives in the area for the searching of a seriously wounded rebel during the past two encounters when they were again ambushed by the rebels. The gunbattle resulted to the death of rebel Delfin Tibangulayan, a.k.a. “Dindo” and Pfc. George Gabor.

“During our clearing operations at the encounter site, we were able to arrest four suspected NPA rebels, who are now under police custody,” Posadas said.

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