2 New People's Army (NPA) Rebels Killed In Army Encounter

Two members of the New People's Army were killed during a 45-minute gunbattle with government troops in Sitio Ipo, Barangay Bigtik in Catigbian town about 3 p.m. Friday.

The rebels, led by Kumander Domingo Samuya alias Ka Minggoy or Ka Jake, numbering to about 40 were chanced upon by troopers of the 17th Special Forces Company under Capt. Dennis Cuaresma.

The armed clash resulted to the evacuation of some 116 families, comprising 528 residents.

Intelligence reports revealed suspicion that the rebels were about to hold a conference in the secluded sitio when they were spotted by the government troops.

The slain rebels were among those assigned to guard the area. Their bodies were recovered during clearing operations conducted by elements of the 6th Special Forces under Col. Abundio Cases based in Bilar town.

Senior Police Officer 3 Modesto Renoblas, Catigbian PNP station commander, told the Chronicle that the suspected leader of the rebels is a resident of Catigbian, a brother of a chief tanod working under Catigbian Mayor Aurelio Dinorog.

The slain rebels, identities still unknown, were in their middle 20s, with height measuring 5'2" and 5'6".

After five days, if no claimants will come, they will be buried, Dinorog said.

BETTER INTELLIGENCE

The military is on the upper hand of the drive against insurgency after a much improved support of the civilians, according to Col. Juanito P. Gomez, commanding officer of the 302nd infantry battalion.

He said that it was the fourth encounter during the first quarter of the year, an indication that rebel operations can easily be aborted by the military.

Working under Col. Gomez are the 15th IB, 6th Special Forces, engineering battalion and the scout rangers.

EVACUATION AND FEAR

In a separate interview, Triple Union barangay chair Cresencio Lupian, 50, confirmed that some 40 families evacuated to the barangay hall and St. Vincent Chapel. The barangay about seven kilometers from the town proper, has 216 households.

After the pulong-pulong conducted by the Special Forces, the residents were allowed to go back home.

Residents of puroks 1 and 3 evacuated due to proximity to the encounter site.

Daguing said that some 68 households took shelter at the barangay hall after the first volley of gunshots.

The barangay chair said that burst of gunfire prompted him to suspend a session with the barangay council. He immediately called his tanods to urge residents of sitio Ipo to evacuate to nearby elementary schools.

Fear still gripped Teodora Batestes, 45, a resident of Liboron; and Ciriaca Tortor, 54, of Triple Union when both were interviewed by the Chronicle yesterday. Tortor expressed relief when she was allowed to go back with her husband Nicolas Tortor, 55, and their only child Richard, 19. - 2004 News Archive - Bohol Chronicle