MANILA, Philippines – Around 70 suspected communist rebels attacked a police station and government offices in Tigbao, Zamboanga del Sur Monday night, disarming cops and seizing at least 8 firearms and ammunition.
The rebels held hostage a policeman as they withdrew.
Military and police reports said New People’s Army rebels, wearing Army camouflage, stormed the Tigbao municipal police station at around 8 pm Monday, April 9, and confiscated the cops’ 6 M16 rifles, one M14 rifle, one 9mm pistol, and ammunition.
They took a laptop and destroyed a desktop computer.
The guerrillas also put up a checkpoint along the highway just in front of the Tigbao municipal hall.
Aside from disarming the policemen and looting their station, the rebels also forcibly opened a number of local government offices there, including the Commission on Elections (Comelec), the military said.
Before fleeing, the rebels took as hostage a policeman identified as PO2 Faizal Juhali.
Tigbao is around 29 kilometers from Pagadian City, the province’s capital. NPA units are known to still operate in at least 5 towns in Zamboanga del Sur, including Tigbao.
The AFP’s Western Mindanao Command has downplayed the rebels’ strength in the region.
Spokesman Lt Col Randy Cabanbang dismissed the raid as “walang kwenta,” that it had no impact since it was a minor police outpost in the province. Cabangbang said the firearms seized by the guerrillas were also ordinary weapons.
Both the police and the military are now conducting pursuit operations against the rebels. – Rappler.com