4 rebels killed in Quezon clash

MANILA — Four members of the New People’s Army (NPA) were killed in a clash with government forces in Lopez town, Quezon province on Friday afternoon.

The incident occurred after elements from the Army’s 85th Infantry Battalion (IB) were deployed to Barangay Peñafrancia after receiving information that a group of rebels forcibly entered the house of a civilian identified as one Zenaida Guzo.

Lieutenant Colonel Oliver Maquiling, 85th IB commander, said six rebels opened fire at the responding soldiers around 12:10 p.m. while the troops were approaching the house. A 10-minute firefight followed.

“The rebels fired their guns when my soldiers approached the house. The soldiers used their excellent marksmanship skills to engage the armed rebels who refused to surrender despite the demand from the soldiers who almost encircled the hut,” said Maquiling.

He said two of the rebels died on the spot while two others died before they reached a local hospital.

“Mrs. Guzo revealed that her husband and son are both unscathed in the firefight. Both of them are cooperating with the police in the ongoing investigation,” said Maquiling.

No one was killed on the side of the soldiers, who recovered from the scene three high-powered guns and rebel documents of “high intelligence value.”

Pursuit operations were ongoing Friday against the two other rebels who managed to escape. There were blood traces on their route of withdrawal, indicating they were wounded in the fighting.

“I am saddened by the death of these rebels. We are continuously convincing the remnants of the armed rebel group to peacefully surrender and help attain lasting peace in our country,” said Maquiling.

Last April 12, government forces killed three NPA rebels in a firefight in San Francisco town, also in Quezon. Human rights group Karapatan claimed the three are ordinary civilians but the military stood by its reports that the three are indeed NPA fighters. (VR/Sunnex)

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