Abra air strikes, clashes kill 8

Camp Melchor Dela Cruz, Isabela—At least eight communist rebels and a government soldier were killed in a series of clashes in Tineg, Abra, on Monday, police and military reports said.

Cpl. Lloyd Tega, a member of the 41st Infantry Battalion, was also killed when government soldiers engaged about 30 New People’s Army rebels in a gunfight in Barangay Caganayan at about 8 a.m. on Monday, said Col. Eliseo Posadas, commander of the 503rd Infantry Brigade.

Clashes lasted up to Monday afternoon when the military launched air strikes in the mountains of Tineg as government soldiers pursued the rebels.

Capt. Jovily Carmel Cabading, spokesperson of the military’s Northern Luzon Command (Nolcom) based in Tarlac City, said among the slain rebels were Loverito Bernal, said to be the head of the NPA unit operating in northeast Abra and who went by the alias “Oxy;” Reynaldo Masadao alias “Cris;” and Junjun Balbin alias “Recti.”

Also killed were two women identified only as “Ogie” and “Winnie,” and three others identified only as “Bunso,” “Omeng” and “Berlyn.”

Cabading said the slain rebels were identified by residents. Their bodies, as of 8 a.m. Tuesday, were at the barangay hall and would be taken by foot to the town center. Reports from Villamor Visaya Jr. and Vincent Cabreza, Inquirer Northern Luzon

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