Another CAFGU slain in NPA attack in N. Cotabato town

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews / 23 Sept) — Suspected New Peoples’ Army (NPA) rebels shot dead a member a paramilitary group in Arakan, North Cotabato on Friday afternoon,, the second victim since Monday.

Authorities identified the victim as Joel Batawan, a member of the Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU), assigned in Barangay Santo Nino, Arakan.

Senior Inspector Arjay Celeste, chief of the Arakan police, said Batawan and five other CAFGU members on board three motorcycles were headed towards Poblacion, Arakan, when ambushed at Sitio Valencia, Barangay Santo Nino, around 345 p.m., Friday.

Reports added the rebels were already positioned on high ground so that when they saw Batawan and his team moving towards the town center, they immediately fired on them.

Batawan suffered fatal gunshot wounds which led to his instant death while another CAFGU member identified as Jonathan Lasoy was hit on his back and was rushed to a private hospital in nearby Antipas town.

The four other CAFGU members survived the attack, Celeste said.

Batawan was the third CAFGU members killed by NPA guerillas in Arakan town, since July.

On July 19, the rebels executed CAFGU member Ben Padian along Barangay Gambodes, Arakan.

On September 18, CAFGU member Jeffrey Bitonio was killed by believed to be NPA guerillas in Barangay Anapolon, also in Arakan.  Bitonio, according to reports, was on his way to his detachment in Barangay Anapolon when waylaid by the suspects.   He also died on the spot.

As this developed, another CAFGU detachment in nearby President Roxas town, also in North Cotabato, was attacked by NPA guerillas, according to reports from the town police chief, Chief Inspector Andres Sumugat.

None, however, from the duty CAFGU members was hurt during the attack.

The exchange of fires lasted for 15 minutes, reports added.  (Malu Cadelina Manar / MindaNews)