NPA attacks Tampakan police station

The rebels, reportedly belonging to the Valentin Palamine Command headed by Emmanuel Fernandez, a.k.a. Ka Bobo, also raided the town's radio room and carted away one M-16 rifle a nd a 9mm pistol from a policemen manning the station outpost, two base radios, laptop computers and cellular phones from nearby fire station and the town's radio room.

The police station was also partially burned when hit by rifle grenades.

Kiunisala said the policemen, whose identities are still being withheld, suffered shrapnel wounds. The wounded civilian is reportedly an ambulance driver of the Tampakan local government unit.

The pol
ice officer said the wounded cops and the ambulance driver are now out of danger.

Tampakan is host town to the Sagittarius Mines Incorporated (SMI) which operation is strongly opposed by the communist-led NPA rebels.

On New Year's Day in 2008, the same NPA rebel band raided and burned down the main base camp of SMI in Barangay Tablu, also in Tampakan, destroying close to P12 million worth of properties.

Kiunisala said the rebels rode in two passenger jeeps and came from nearby Columbio town in Sultan Kudarat.

Tampakan is an interior town in South Cotabato, some 47 kilometers away from General Santos city and only 15 kilometers from Koronadal City.

Hot pursuit operations were immediately launched against the attackers, who the police said fled towards Barangay Cacub in Koronadal.

The Valentin Palamine Command is yet to own responsibility over Thursday's daring attack but they have repeatedly issued several warnings in the past against the exploration activities of SMI in the hinterlands of Tampakan and Columbio.

They have accused the town's local government unit of colluding with SMI in exploiting the rich copper and gold ore deposit in the area.

SMI is controlled by world mining giant and Switzerland-based Xstrata Plc through its subsidiary Xstrata Copper of Australia.

The NPAs have been waging guerilla warfare for four decades now.

Its political organization, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), marked its 40th founding anniversary on December 26 last year.

The attack comes barely two months before the NPA celebrates its own 40th anniversary this year.

The NPA was established as the armed wing of the CPP on Mach 29, 1969.

Peace talks between the communist rebel group and the Arroyo government collapsed in 2004 after the US and the European Community labeled the CPP-NPA as terrorist organization. (Edwin G. Espejo/MindaNews contributor)