MALIBCONG, Abra March 14 – Five policemen were injured after an improvised explosive device believed to have been planted by fleeing members of the New Peoples Army (NPA) while trying to provide reinforcement to the members of the Malibcong Municipal Station who were attacked by still undetermined number of NPA rebels Monday morning at the Malanas bridge, Poblacion, here.
Aside from being trapped by the explosion of the improvised explosive device, the reinforcement troops that came from the Abra Provincial Public Safety Company were fired upon by the fleeing NPA rebels that resulted to the injuries of PO2 Jessie Pastores Trinidad, PO1 Marlon Banigan De Lapaz, PO1 Gerome Pacapac Baldos, PO1 Von Harold Layao and PO1 Kennon Batanes Sanggoy who were immediately rushed to the Abra Provincial Hospital for medical treatment.
At around 7 pm Sunday, still unidentified NPA rebels stormed the Malibcong Municipal Station that resulted to a 10-minute running gun battle between the undermanned policemen and the rebels.
The more or less 30 NPA rebels who belong to the Kilusang Larangang Guerilya North Abra under the leadership of a certain Ka Payas attacked the police station which is an abandoned house of Mayor Bacuyag considering that its permanent stations is undergoing construction.
During the firefight with the enemies, the village elders and the community intervened and begged to the policemen for a ceasefire to avoid crossfire and collateral damage from the populace. However, the rebels took advantage of the outnumbered policemen on duty and they were able to cart away their firearms including the firearms of personnel who are on off duty. Inventory showed that 7 long firearms, 3 short firearms, assorted ammunitions and assorted personal and office gadgets were taken by the rebels. No policeman was hurt during the incident.
Immediately, the AFP/PNP troops conducted joint pursuit operations and mobilized all detachments and patrol bases.
Checkpoints and blocking forces were also conducted in the boundary of Lacub and Malibcong, Abra. Likewise, continuous investigation and intensified information gathering is on-going to determine the identities of the assailants for their possible arrest and neutralization.
By Dexter A. See