A sizable number of New People’s Army rebels attacked the police station of Matanao, Davao del Sur early morning today and killed two policemen and wounded three others. Two rebels were also killed during the firefight whose bodies were retrieved during the hot pursuit operation.
The rebels also carted several firearms inside the said police station. Witnesses also saw rebels shooting a cop who already surrendered.
The attack happened around four in the morning today, March 10. The rebels number to about fifty and were onboard three vehicles. The rebels are reportedly under the command of Felix Armodia of the Front 72 of New Peoples Army.
One of the police fatalities was identified as SPO3 Danny Mahalong. Three other cops were including SPO3 Manolo Booc who already surrendered to the rebels but was still shot. He is said to be in critical condition at a hospital now.
The wounded cops are identified as PO1 Renato Uy, PO1 Sherwin Cadungog, PO1 Gilbert Legaspi.
The rebels were onboard 2 Isuzu Elf trucks and a multicab vehicle when they staged the attack. The police defended their station and engaged the rebels in a firefight for about 30 minutes before the rebels overrun the station.
Inmates saw how the rebels cornered SPO3 Booc and how they shot him thereafter. The rebels carted away four M16 rifles including the one used by Booc.
The rebels also deployed a blocking force at the vicinity of St. Michael Church near the residence of the town mayor.
Southern Mindanao police regional director Chief Supt. Wency Pascual readily went to Matanao this morning to personally assess the situation. Hot pursuit operation by the police and the military is ongoing as of press time.
Pascual said authorities also recovered two bodies of NPA rebels in Barangay Talaytay where they withdrew after the attack.
4 MORE DEAD, 8 WOUNDED, 9 ARRESTED
In the ongoing hot pursuit operation, the military were able to catch up with the rebels in Barangay Saboy where a landmine explosion hit the soldiers killing four and wounding eight others.
Col. Norman Flores of the Army’s 1002nd Brigade said the government troops were able to arrest nine rebels who took part on the Matanao raid. The rebels are now undergoing tactical interrogation.
The identities of the latest KIA and WIAs are temporarily held pending notification of their kin.