KIDAPAWAN CITY, Philippines – Policemen gunned down two communist rebels and wounded three others as they foiled an attempt to burn down a patrol truck while its passengers were investigating at a crime scene about a kilometer away in Cabanglasan town in Bukidnon Sunday.
Two policemen left to guard the vehicle fired at New People’s Army guerillas that attempted to approach the patrol truck.
Lt.Col. Jose Marie Cuerpo, commanding officer of the Army’s 8th Infantry Battalion, said members of the Cabanglasan municipal police force that went to investigate the reported killing by NPAs of a motorcycle-riding villager named Melody Delamansi in Sitio Lagonglong, Barangay Iba, decided to leave their truck behind and proceed to the crime scene on foot, anticipating an ambush.
While the policemen were inspecting the crime scene, heavily armed NPA members, some of them carrying dried coconut palms and plastic containers filled with Kerosene, tried to surround their vehicle parked about a kilometer away.
The policemen guarding the patrol truck engaged the rebels in a firefight and prevented them from closing in until their companions, alerted by bursts of automatic gunfire, ran back to the vehicle and helped in driving the rebels away.
Responding combatants of the 8th IB blocked at least three groups of NPA members by setting up a two-kilometer cordon around the area where the clash took place.
Two rebels were killed in the ensuing firefight, whose cadavers were left behind by their companions that hastily escaped towards a secluded area in another barangay.
Local officials said villagers saw the fleeing rebels carry three wounded companions, two of them adolescents.
Cuerpo said Delamansi was an active timuay (chieftain) of a hinterland tribe in Cabanglasan.