5 cops killed in NPA ambush in Occidental Mindoro (Phillipines)
Five policemen were killed and five others were wounded after they were ambushed by suspected communist rebels
CAMP VICENTE LIM, Laguna-Five policemen were killed and five others were wounded after they were ambushed by suspected communist rebels in the central province of Occidental Mindoro, military and police officials said.
Senior Superintendent Audie Arroyo, Occidental Mindoro police chief, said the policemen were on their way to secure a political campaign rally of re-electionist Governor Josephine Sato, a staunch supporter of the government' s anti-insurgency program, when some 30 members of the New People' s Army started firing after the police vehicle hit a landmine on a rural road in San Jose.
Arroyo said the five policemen were killed instantly along Sitio (sub-village) Tugtugin, Barangay (village) Batasan at around 7:30 am, said Arroyo and Lieutenant Colonel Rhoderick Parayno, spokesman of the Armed Forces Southern Luzon Command (Solcom).
Arroyo identified the fatalities as Police Officer 3 Leonardo Medilla, Police Officers 2 Nelson Barrientos, Gabriel Ordanes, Rommel Caleze, and Alberto Hilario.
Wounded were PO3 Elmer Legayada, PO1 Ronnie Rivera, PO2 Joel Viscarra, and PO3 Mario Barbosa and a certain PO2 Villaflores, Arroyo said.
All were members of the Police Provincial Mobile Group, an anti-insurgency unit, he said.
Arroyo said the slain policemen were part of a 15-man advance security detail of Governor Sato, who was scheduled to hold 10 a.m. miting de avance at the capital town.
"Some of my men were walking ahead of the vehicle. When the landmine exploded, the NPAs started shooting. They apparently used the explosion as a signal when to attack,"Arroyo said in a mobile phone interview.
The policemen shot it out with the rebels, who eventually withdrew to the mountains after a few minutes.
Arroyo said his policemen saw the rebels carrying at least two wounded comrades.
He said the police and Army soldiers were in pursuit of the rebels.
Arroyo said it was possible that the NPA unit behind the ambush was the same group that abducted re-electionist Mayor Alex Aranas of the town of Pola in Oriental Mindoro last Friday. (MNS)
Von: 14.05.07 www.balita.com