3 NPA rebels killed, 1 captured in Masbate

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    THREE communist New People’s Army rebels were killed while another was captured in a firefight with soldiers and policemen in Mandaon town in Masbate yesterday morning.

    The firefight broke out around 5:30 a.m. in Sitio Kaunlaran, Barangay Alas, according to reports from the military’s Southern Luzon Command and Bicol Regional Police Office.

    Solcom spokesman Col. Dennis Cana said troops from the Army’s 2nd Infantry Battalion and policemen were on a law enforcement security operation when they clashed with an undetermined number of rebels for about 15 minutes.

    Troops recovered at the scene the bodies of the slain rebels, a Carbine rifle, an M1 Garand rifle, two shotguns, an anti-personnel mine and rebel documents.

    Police said the troops were about the serve an arrest warrant against three NPA members – Roel Vargas, Eddie Rosero and Jomar Tugbo – for murder when the firefight broke out.

    Police said one of the rebels, identified as Ronald Azucena, was intercepted by police at a checkpoint in Barangay Dayao, also in Mandaon town, at around 7:20 a.m.

    Azucena yielded a cal. 22 revolver and ammunition. He is detained at the Mandaon police station.

    The slain rebels have yet to be identified, police said.

    Police said other rebels are believed to have been wounded in the clash “as evidenced by the trail of blood found on their escape route.”