By Winston Ensomo
SURIGAO City–Government troops on Monday killed a suspected New People’s Army (NPA) rebel during an exchange of forepower in Malimono, Surigao del Norte.
The fierce encounter came just two days after President Duterte withdrew his declaration of a unilateral ceasefire with the Communist Party of the Philippines-National Democratic Front.
Authorities identified the dead as Junard Quinto Caasoy, 37, of Barangay Hangadong, Malimono town in Surigao del Norte. He was killed when members of the army’s 30th Infantry Battalion and the National Police engaged rebels for about five minutes on Monday morning.
Police said Casoy had two pending warrants of arrest for charges of qualified theft and reckless imprudence resulting in physical injuries.
1Lt. Ken Enciso, a company commander of the 30th IB, said the Army-police team merely responded from a complaint from concerned citizens about extortion activities allegedly being carried out by rebels in barangays San Isidro and Binucayan.
Troops found in the encounter site the body of Caasoy, an AK-47 and ammunition, two crude bombs and rice supply.
The body of Caasoy was turned over to local officials and subsequently to the family.
Police however claimed the troops were out on a rescue mission for three policemen and a non-uniformed police staff member–SPO3 Santiago Lamanilao of the Surigao City, PO3 Jayroll Bagayas, PO2 Caleb Sinaca and Rodrigo Angob of the Malimono town–who were abducted in Surigao del Norte.
Reports from Surigao del Norte police said the officers and soldiers were conducting joint pursuit operations in barangays San Isidro, Binucaran and Cagtinae in San Francisco town when they encountered about 15 armed men at Binucaran.
Additional troops were deployed in the area to support the search and rescue operations and to pursue the abductors. (with reports from pna)