Hinterland encounter kills top rank rebel

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DAVAO CITY – A leader of the communist New People’s Army (NPA) was killed in a firefight with government troops in the Davao Oriental town of Lupon on Friday, the Army’s 28th Infantry Battalion (28IB) said.

In a statement on Saturday, the 28IB said the encounter resulted in the death of a certain Prince Wendel Olofernes, the secretary of the Guerilla Front 18, and the apprehension of a suspected NPA rebel Godofredo Quesada Galo.

Recovered from the encounter site were four 40mm ammunition and the personal belongings of the rebels, the 28IB said, adding the firefight broke out after the 23IB responded to a report from residents about the presence of armed NPA rebels in Brgy Maragatas, Lupon.

With the help of the Philippine Airforce’s Tactical Operations Group, the troops managed to turn over the remains of Olofernes to his family in the Davao de Oro town of Pantukan.

Galo, meanwhile, was brought to the Lupon Municipal Police Station for filing of appropriate charges.

“Our sincere condolences to the bereaved family. May this unfortunate event serve as a lesson to the remaining NPA members. We sincerely ask the help of everyone in the community to help us assist our deceived fellow brothers by encouraging them to return to the folds of the law,” said Lt. Col. Alexander Banatao, 28IB commander.

Banatao also urged the remaining NPA members to surrender to the government and avail of the chance to “peacefully live with their families again”.

“Let us not wait for another loss, the right time is now. For those who wish to surrender, there is nothing to worry about because the government is ever ready to help you start a peaceful beginning,” Banatao said.

He also narrated that “the 28IB strongly condemns the atrocious acts of the NPA as it remains steadfast in its fight against terrorism of all sorts”.

The NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. -PNA

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