Rebels burn 3 cargo trucks, tractor

A group of suspected New People’s Army rebels burned three cargo trucks and a tractor owned by a sugar planter in Hacienda San Andres, Brgy. Andres Bonifacio, Cadiz City Sunday, after harassing a military outpost in the area. Senior Supt. Milko Lirazan, provincial police director of Negros Occidental, identified the owner of three burned cargo trucks and a tractor yesterday as Raul Santa Ana. However, arson investigators of the Bureau of Fire and Protection, have not made an estimate of the damage yet.

Lirazan also said that a military outpost was harassed by suspected rebels for about two minutes. He, however, said no one was hurt during the brief gunbattle. Supt. Noel Mana-ay, Cadiz police chief, said nine armed men entered the hacienda compound of Santa Ana at about 8 pm Sunday, bringing containers filled with gasoline, which they poured on the trucks and the tractor.

Another cargo truck loaded with sugarcane was spared as it was not owned by Santa Ana. The armed men, who did not identify themselves as NPA members, also fired their guns, after burning the cargo trucks and the tractor. Twenty-five empty shells of M16 assault rifle were recovered by the police, BFP probers and Army soldiers, from the hacienda compound.

An hour later, a military outpost, located about two kilometers from the hacienda, was also harassed by suspected rebels, Mana-ay said Investigations by the Cadiz police showed that Santa Ana had received demands from an armed group, that he allegedly did not comply with. Lirazan said the burning incident may have been a diversionary tactic of the rebels meant to ambush government troopers, on their way to investigate the arson incident that took place more than a month after the sugar milling season opened.

Police investigations showed that such incidents usually occur during the milling season, and are aimed to remind or punish sugar planters, who fail to pay revolutionary taxes demanded from them by the NPA

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