FIGHTING between Army troops and suspected New People’s Army guerrillas in Tinambac, Camarines Sur early morning yesterday left six rebels dead, officials said.
Reports said that combined members of the Army’s 83rd Infantry Battalion and the 97th and 96th Military Intelligence Company were conducting combat and intelligence operations in Barangay Lupi in Tinambac municipality when they encountered at least 15 armed men at 6 in the morning.
A 20-minute gunbattle erupted between the two groups leading to the death of the six suspects. Recovered from the possession of the slain suspects were four M-16 automatic rifles and a grenade launcher.
The rest of the group withdrew towards the nearby Bgy. Tierra Nevada where they are still being pursued by soldiers and policemen. No casualty was reported on the side of the military during the clash.
Police Regional Office 5 director, Chief Superintendent Arnel B. Escobal, ordered all Bicol police units to be on heightened alert for any possible retaliatory attacks by the NPA in the aftermath of the encounter in Tinambac. Police set up checkpoints to intercept the fleeing gunmen and tightened their guard on their stations and other government installations in the region as part of the security preparations, said Escobal.