NPA leader, 2 supporters nabbed in Bukidnon

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    A NEW People’s Army leader and two NPA supporters, including a pregnant woman, were captured following a firefight in Arakan town in the boundaries of Bukidnon and Cotabato on Sunday, the military reported yesterday.

    Maj. Gen. Ernesto Torres, commander of the Army’s 10th Infantry Division based in Davao de Oro, identified the captured NPA leader as Leonardo Ejanel, alias Gamay and Lalay, the commanding officer of the NPA’s Front Guerilla Unit, Guerilla Front 53 of the Southern Mindanao regional Committee.

    Also nabbed were Merlyn Benano Bentang, 20, who is five months pregnant; and Ryan Desalao, 20, residents of Barangay White Kulaman in Kitaotao town, Bukidnon.

    Torres said Army troopers conducting a security operation at the tri-boundaries of Barangays Tawas and White Kulamat, both in Kitaotao town, and Barangay Kulaman Valley in Arakan town in Bukidnon clashed with about six rebels at around 9:25 a.m. on Sunday.

    Torres said the two sides traded fire for about 15 minutes, after which the rebels withdrew.

    He said Ejanel was seen by the troops as having been wounded.

    Pursuing troops later captured Ejanel, Bentang and Desalao. Seized from them were an M653 rifle, three magazines, 80 rounds of 5.56 mm ammunition, two cell phones, a Globe sim card, medical paraphernalia, food stuff and two backpacks with personal belongings.