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Reb attack puts Samar town in lockdown.

The sleepy town of Victoria, Northern Samar province, was put on a lockdown following the attack by 50 communist rebels on a police station on Thursday, the eve of the 50th founding anniversary of the New People's Army (NPA).

During the attack, policemen were able to fight back, killing three rebels whose bodies were left behind by their companions. Two policemen were wounded.

Three suspected rebels were arrested after the firefight.

Kenneth Joey Balase, operations officer of the local government, said the Victoria town center was in a lockdown in a bid to round up the rebels who attacked the station.

'No one is allowed at this time to go out the streets,' Balase said. He, however, did not say how long the lockdown order would last.

Clad in military uniforms on board several vehicles, the rebels attacked the police station at 3:44 a.m. on Thursday.

Sensing an attack, Lt. Eladio Alo, Victoria police chief, told the 15 policemen on duty to get ready for a fight. They then positioned themselves on the rooftop of the station and fired at the advancing rebels, some of them women.

PSMS Arturo Gordo Jr. and PMSg. Arnold Cabacang suffered from shrapnel wounds during the firefight that lasted more than two hours.

Commendation

The Philippine National Police chief, P. Gen. Oscar Albayalde, commended the Victoria police for stopping the rebel raid.

'They showed courage in the face of torcher by more or less 50 NPA rebels. They were able to repel the attack,' Albayalde told reporters in Ilocos Norte, where he was making the rounds to ensure security measures were in place for the local elections.

Police also said four civilians were wounded after their vehicle was fired upon by suspected rebels at 4 a.m.

The group, police said, was heading to San Isidro town, about three towns away from Victoria, when they were flagged down and shot by armed men.

Police said the armed men in San Isidro could be members of the rebels' blocking force to ensure that no policeman or soldier could get into Victoria while the raid was ongoing.

Brig. General Ramil Bitong, 803rd Infantry Brigade commander, said the failed attack on the police station in Victoria 'would also mean a failed NPA anniversary celebration in Northern Samar.'

War trophy?

Capt. Ryann Velez, the brigade's civil-military operations officer, said it was possible that the NPA, had it succeeded in overrunning the station, would use it as a 'war trophy.'

Interior Secretary Eduardo Ano cited the Victoria policemen for turning the rebel attack into a 'tactical victory by inflicting casualties on the enemy.'

In Mindanao, two suspected NPA rebels were killed in a clash with government forces in Mabini town, Compostela Valley province, early Thursday, an Army spokesperson said.

A suspected rebel was also arrested, while several guns and an improvised bomb were seized following the firefight in Barangay Anitapan at 1:30 a.m., according to 1st Lt. Jhocell Asis, spokesperson for the 71st Infantry Battalion.

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Geographic Code:8AUST
Date:Mar 29, 2019
Words:578
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