A large band of New People’s Army (NPA) members attacked the police station of Trento, Agusan del Sur, early Saturday leaving two civilians dead and two policemen and a soldier injured.
Chief Superintendent Reynaldo Rafal, Caraga regional police director, said more or less 200 rebels arrived past 5 a.m. on board three trucks and engaged the 20 lawmen on duty in a gunbattle.
Despite being outnumbered, the policemen, led by their lady chief, Insp. Charity Galvez, were able to repulse the attack. “After an hour of firefight, they (rebels) were repulsed, nag-withdraw ‘yung kalaban,” Rafal said in a phone interview.
Killed in that clash was Salvador Rall Jr., the station’s civilian “striker,” while PO3 Mhel Hubo, of the Trento Police, and PO1 Joel Lazarte, of the Agusan del Sur Provincial Public Safety Company, suffered slight injuries.
As the rebels withdrew around 6 a.m., they clashed with policemen from Sta. Josefa town, one of the different police and military units deployed to reinforce Trento, Rafal said.
Initial reports showed that another civilian got killed in the crossfire there while another, identified as Alexander Lagulao of the Agusan del Sur Provincial Treasurer’s Office, was wounded.
Pursuing police and military personnel later recovered one of the trucks and saw “signs” that the rebels also suffered casualties.
“‘Yung sinakyan nilang trak, n’ung marecover namin ay punung-puno ng dugo yung flooring so that’s an indication na marami talagang casualty,” Rafal said.
“Mahirap lang magsabi kung ilan pero kung titingnan mo marami talaga brod, dahil sa Trento pa lang may mga dugu-dugo na rin dun… then may mga witnesses, mga taga-roon na nagsasabing binubuhat yung mga casualty ng kalaban,” he added.
But around 3:30 p.m., members of the Army Scout Rangers who were deployed for pursuit operations were ambushed by a group of rebels believed to be also involved in the attack.
The troops were passing through Sitio Divisoria, Brgy. Langkilaan, on a 6×6 military truck when they were fired upon by an undetermined number of fully-armed rebels. “One Ranger was wounded,” Rafal said.
Meanwhile, the attack on the Trento Police Station also left damages to nearby government buildings and two firetrucks inside the Municipal Hall’s compound.
“Balak siguro nilang pasukin, kunin ‘yung mga baril, posible pang sunugin ‘yun,” Rafal said when asked what could be the rebels’ motive for attacking the station. (John Roson)
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