ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews / 16 July) – A suspected New People’s Army (NPA) rebel was killed while a policeman was wounded in a clash Tuesday in Sergio Osmeña, Zamboanga del Norte, military and police officials said.
Capt. Franco Suelto, public affairs officer-in-charge of the Army’s First Infantry Division, said the clash broke out around 9 a.m. when policemen from the Provincial Public Safety Battalion (PPSB) spotted a group of NPA rebels while on security patrol in Barangay San Francisco, Sergio Osmeña.
Senior Supt. James Mejia, Zamboanga del Norte police director, disclosed that PO1 Edward Panoril was wounded in the clash.
The NPA rebels reportedly fled as government reinforcement arrived. Sergio Osmeña Municipal Health Office paramedics rushed Panoril to the hospital.
Mejia said policemen were deployed in the nearby barangays of Macalibre and Princesa Lamaya as blocking forces to prevent the escape of the NPA rebels.
Policemen were also positioned as blocking forces and to conduct clearing operations in Barangay Maligaya in the nearby Municipality of Polanco following the reported evacuation of residents in the area as an offshoot of the clash in Sergio Osmeña.
Suelto said troops from the Army’s 32nd Infantry Battalion were positioned in Barangay Kauswagan to block the retreating NPA rebels.
It was not known how long the firefight lasted but Suelto said the troops have recovered the remains of a slain NPA rebel around 5:30 p.m. while conducting clearing operations in Barangay San Francisco, Sergio Osmeña.
Suelto said the troops recovered an improvised explosive device, a grenade, ammunition for AK-47 assault rifle and subversive documents of high intelligence value.
He said the clash triggered the evacuation of 250 civilians to the Sergio Osmeña municipal covered court.
The Sergio Osmeña Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office have provided them relief assistance.