8 rebels killed in Negros Oriental clash

EIGHT communist rebels were killed in a three-hour clash with soldiers and police on Tuesday afternoon in Negros Oriental, the military said on Wednesday.

Authorities recovered the unidentified bodies and several firearms from the encounter site, which include six M16 rifles, two M14 rifles, an M4 rifle, an M60 rifle and a KG9 rifle, as well as improvised explosive devices, magazines, ammunition, backpacks and documents which were “of high intelligence value”.

Col. Gerry Besana, civil-military operations head of the Central Command, told reporters that around 40 communist rebels clashed with troops in Sitio Agit, Barangay Trinidad in Guihulngan City, where they were staying at a “temporary site.”

Besana noted that the 303rd Infantry Brigade had been monitoring the “massing up” of the New People’s Army (NPA) rebels.

“The civilians’ reports were consistent, as well as our other informants that is why we were able to monitor them and for almost a month, there have been continuous sightings of more than 50 [rebels in the area],” he said.

The military said the gathering of communist rebels could be in preparation for a plenum for the upcoming NPA anniversary on March 29.

Besana said among the rebels’ plans were “tactical offensives” as Guihulngan City was a “traditional area of the NPA and at the same time, their intention is to boost the morale of the cadres since many of them have been surrendering.”

The government has not suffered any casualties, according to Besana, adding that pursuit operations against the so-called remnants are ongoing.

“It’s a decisive victory,” Besana said. “This should serve as a lesson to the remaining NPA [members] out there.”