GENERAL SANTOS CITY (March 10) – Two policemen were killed while three others were wounded when a band of 50 New People Army (NPA) assaulted a police station in the southern Mindanao island in the Philippines early Monday, according to a military spokesman here.
Capt. William Rodriguez, spokesman of the 1002nd Brigade of the Philippine Army, said the NPA rebels arrived Matanao, Davao del Sur at around 4.30am in three commandeered vehicles and tried to overrun the town police station.
The NPA rebels, who wore camouflage uniforms, were reportedly led by Felix Armodia, a.k.a Ka Jing, who the military identified as secretary of Front 72 of the rebels’ Far South Mindanao Regional command.
Alert police on duty however were able to ward off the heavily armed attackers, according to Rodriguez.
“The PNP personnel were able to open fire preventing the entry of the attacking NPAs,” Rodriguez said in a text message.
The rebels withdrew after failing to overrun the police station.
He said the NPAs suffered heavy casualties “as evidenced by the blood stains in the attack positions.”
Almost simultaneously, another NPA rebel band also reportedly attacked a military detachment in nearby Donganpekong village, also in Matanao. The military did not report any casualties in that attack.
The Army spokesman here declined to identify the policemen who died in the attack pending notification of their next of kin.
The NPA rebels are yet to issue a statement.
During the 45th anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) on December 26 last year somewhere in Makilala, Cotabato, Ka Jing warned of more rebel offensives as they vow to push their armed struggle to new levels.
Ka Jing is the commanding officer of the company-sized NPA formation of the NPAs Front 72 Mt.Alip Command guerrilla unit.
The NPAs Front 72 command covers the towns of Mlang, Tulunan and portions of Makilala in Cotabato province and the towns of Matanao, Kiblawan and portions of Magsaysay in Davao del Sur. It also operates in the towns of Columbio in Sultan Kudarat and Tampakan in South Cotabato.
The NPA is the armed wing of the CPP.
Ka Jing boasted that the unit suffered no casualties in 2013 despite a number of rebel-initiated encounters, as well as defensive actions.
The NPAs are celebrating their 45th anniversary on March 29.
The Maoist-inspired CPP-NPA armed struggle is Asia’s longest-running insurgency of its kind.
The military however claimed it has already decimated the rebel force from a high of 25,000 fully armed guerrillas in the mid-1980s to less than 4,000 fighters nationwide now.
But the CPP-NPA said it has now nearly rebuilt its fighting force back to previous levels which, according to rebel insiders, was between 6,000-8,000 full time guerrilla fighters.