Lt. Col. Victor Tan, commanding officer of the Army’s 39th Infantry Battalion, identified the slain rebel as Roel Abawan, resident of remote Barangay Basak, some 40 kilometers east from here.
Tan said they recovered from Abawan’s black bag a camera, which the military claimed served as triggering device of an improvised landmine planted along sitio Bantaan, Barangay Bagumbayan.
They also recovered from Abawan’s bag a location map of CAFGU detachments in Magpet and several alleged subversive documents.
Tan said he ordered a platoon of his soldiers to conduct patrol operations in Barangays Bagumbayan, Amabel, and Basak, areas they suspected as highly-influenced by the NPA, after he received persistent reports that the rebels had resumed collection of revolutionary taxes among residents in the area.
While patrolling in the area, government troops encountered some 15 NPA rebels, including Abawan.
Abawan was reportedly killed when he tried to elude arrest. “He was carrying a camera, which served as triggering device of a landmine. He tried to kill our troops in the area,” said Tan in a radio interview.
Tan said the military operations in the area will continue “until we are able to drive away the NPA from the residents.”