GARCHITORENA, Camarines Sur – About 200 residents fled from their homes when soldiers and members of the New People’s Army on Thursday clashed in Bgy. Lidong in the boundary of this town and Caramoan municipality.
Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (MDRRMO) – Garchitorena head Janet Bombasi said the residents, composed of 49 families, sought refuge at this municipality’s covered court while the others ran to their relatives’ houses at the poblacion.
Joint army and police mobile force units were patrolling on Thursday when they encountered about 50 communist rebels in the village.
Frightened villagers immediately left their houses for their safety.
Five rebels, whose names were being verified, were reportedly injured during the exchange of fire.
A report from Camp Elias Angeles, base of the 9th Infantry Division in Pili, Camarines Sur, said joint forces of the 83rd Infantry Battalion, 9MIB, 22nd IB, Philippine Army, PNP mobile force units, 501st MC-RMFB and the 2nd MFC of the Provincial Police Office pursued the rebels who escaped towards the hinterland.
Seized at the clash site were some guns, ammunition and a backpack.
Garchitorena Mayor Nelson Buesa said until Friday, some terrified villagers, who refused to return to their homes until the government troops called off its pursuit operations against the communist rebels, were being sheltered at the covered court. The local government unit was providing them assistance.
Other village residents, he added, started to return to their homes.