NPAs raid Davao police station


By Edith Regalado
Friday, July 4, 2008

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DAVAO CITY – Suspected New People’s Army (NPA) rebels swooped down on the police station of Banay-Banay town in Davao Oriental yesterday morning, carting away several firearms and ammunition.

The guerrillas, numbering about 50, reportedly posed as rallyists applying for a permit and arrived in front of the Banay-Banay town hall at about 8:30 a.m. on board two Elf trucks and a Mitsubishi van, Chief Superintendent Andres Caro II, Southern Mindanao police director, said.

The rebels disarmed some of the lawmen guarding the town hall and then ransacked the police armory, taking six M-16 rifles, two 9-mm pistols and a caliber .22 revolver.

Other police officers put up a fight, later reinforced by government troops. A certain PO3 Pesian was reportedly wounded in the 30-minute firefight.

Caro said the rebels belong to the Front Committee 18 of the NPA’s Pulang Bagani Command led by a certain Danilo Nodalo, alias Kumander Benjie.

Caro said elements of the 1106th Regional Mobile Group and the Army’s 67th Infantry Battalion are pursuing the raiders.

Davao Oriental and the neighboring provinces of Compostela Valley, Davao del Norte, Agusan del Sur and Surigao del Sur are considered to be NPA strongholds in this part of the country.

The NPA rebels have intensified their attacks against police and military personnel in the region in the past six months.

NPA rebels were also suspected to be behind a grenade explosion in Nabunturan, Compostela Valley past midnight yesterday, killing at least three people and injuring 11 others.

Last week, insurgents raided two town halls and police stations on Siargao Island in Surigao del Norte, stealing firearms and communication equipment, but soldiers caught up with them, killing 15 and capturing a dozen others.

Meanwhile, the military discovered late Tuesday the shallow grave of Josefino Estaniel, a pastor of the Seventh Day Adventist Church who was kidnapped by the NPA in May, a regional military spokesman said.

Estaniel was “tortured before he was executed and buried,” said Lt. Col. Kurt Decapia.

Civilian informants led the military to the grave on the outskirts of Davao City.

The pastor was apparently killed because of NPA suspicions he was helping the military with its anti-insurgency operations, Decapia said.

In Cagayan Valley, Army units have been placed on heightened alert in the wake of intelligence reports, corroborated by seized documents, that NPA rebels would launch attacks and other terrorist acts starting this month.

The Army’s 5th Infantry Division based in Gamu, Isabela said the alert came after guerrillas torched a Globe Telecom cell site in remote Barangay Kabayabasan in Lallo, Cagayan last Saturday.

“It (cell site burning) was (perpetrated) by seven armed men. That is their handiwork and they made the burning of cell sites simultaneous with other (attacks elsewhere in the country),” said Maj. Gen. Melchor Dilodilo, chief of the 5th ID which has jurisdiction over the Cagayan Valley, Cordillera and Ilocos regions. With Charlie Lagasca(PhilStar)

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