NPA official killed in a military operation, abandoned by comrades

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ILIGAN CITY —– The Armed Forces of the Philippines reported on Saturday morning that a high ranking official of the New People’s Army in Zamboanga del Norte was killed in an encounter on Friday night (November 13) with the troopers of the Army’s 44th Infantry Battalion in Tampilisan town, Zamboanga del Norte.

The Division Public Affairs Office (DPAO) of the 1st Infantry Division, Philippine Army, identified the NPA member as Leonido Nabong, who also goes by the alias Coco and Baste.

Nabong, believed to have been wounded and abandoned by his comrades after a 45-minute firefight, was found by the troops at the encounter site still breathing.

The military tried to revive him but eventually died according to Captain Clint Antipala, head of the 1st DPAO in a statement sent to the media on Saturday morning.

The encounter site is around ten kilometers away from the town proper of Tampilisan.

“The area is isolated and forested. According to our troops, the area where they stumbled upon is only for the armed men’s temporary rest while running away from the military who are conducting combat operations,” Antipala said.

In a statement released by the DPAO, Nabong was identified by NPA surrenderees who are now being handled by the 44IB.

Information gathered by the military tells that Nabong is a member of the NPA’s Komisyon Mindanao (KOMMID) and became secretary of the group from April 2002 until September 2011.

He was the 1st Deputy Secretary of the Western Mindanao Regional Party Committee (WMRPC) until the time of his death.

“Coco or Baste, as we commonly know him, was one of the remaining pillars, the oldest and the most hardcore personality of the WMRPC,” said LtCol. Don Templonuevo, commander of the 44IB.

The government forces seized from the site four units of M16, M14 rifles, and an M203 grenade launcher believed to be owned by the group but were left behind as they scampered away.

BGen. Leonel Nicolas, commander of the 102nd Infantry Brigade which commands the 44IB, credited the overrunning of the rebel site to the residents in the community who tipped-off the military on the location.

“For the past months, our troops on the ground have been pursuing the remaining elements of the Guerilla Front Feliciano and will continue to hunt down the remaining rebels in Western Mindanao,” Nicolas said.

The military, however, continues opening its door for those who are still wishing for a second chance to be with their families and return to mainstream society, according to Nicolas. – Newsline.ph

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