MANILA - Two members of the New People’s Army (NPA) were killed, while another rebel was arrested in an encounter in Zambaonga del Sur on Thursday morning, the Western Mindanao Command said.
WESMINCOM Commander Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan, Jr., said elements of the 53rd Infantry Battalion, Tigbao Municipal Police Station, and the intelligence operatives conducted a joint law enforcement operation and service of warrants of arrest against six remnants of the rebel group’s Main Regional Guerilla Unit in Barangay Guinlin, Tigbao, this province.
However, rebels fired at authorities approaching the area.
“A firefight ensued which resulted in the deaths of two terrorists and the apprehension of another,” said Lt. Col. Jo-Ar Herrera, Commanding Officer of the 53IB.
Killed in the encounter were Felimon Suazo, alias Jonathan Cruz/Nathan, and James Cordero, alias James/Tito. Another rebel was arrested and identified as Elvie Doctor, alias Bangkat/Nanang.
“Nathan is an executive committee member of the Western Mindanao Regional Party Committee, Political Instructor/Finance, and at the same time member of squad 1 of the defunct Main Regional Guerilla Unit. Sometime in 2009, Nathan was one of the cadres who came from Davao together with Aprecia Alvarez Rosete, a.k.a. Bambam (the current secretary of the WMRPC) to reinforce the dwindling strength and assist the recovery efforts of the group at that time,” said Brig. Gen. Leonel Nicolas, Commander of the 102nd Infantry Brigade.
Nicolas said Nathan has existing warrants of arrest for multiple frustrated homicides, four counts of attempted murder and theft.
Meanwhile, James is a member of the MRGU Squad 1 while Nanang is an ExeCom member of WMRPC and Political Instructor of the defunct MRGU. She was the Staff Propagandist of WMRPC in 2019 and has warrants of arrest for murder and murder with direct assaults.
Troops are currently conducting clearing and pursuit operations in the area. They also recovered one M16 with an M203 Grenade Launcher attached to it, one 9mm pistol, one cal. 45 pistol, four 40mm ammunition, four magazines of M16 loaded with 75 rounds of ammunition, and propaganda materials.
To date, a total of 51 NPA rebels have been neutralize since January 2021. Of the total, four were killed, 42 surrendered, and five were apprehended.