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Female rebel, firearms apprehended in Abra firefight

A FEMALE rebel and several high caliber firearms were seized by authorities following an almost one hour firefight between troops and members of communist guerillas at Sitio Tinalban, Kilong-olao village, Boliney, Abra.

The rebel was identified as Alyas Joana, who is member of New People’s Army’s (NPA’s) Kilusang Larangang Guerilla North led by Alyas Payas.

She sustained multiple gunshot wounds and is now confined at the Abra Provincial Hospital.

Also retrieved after the firefight were three M16 rifles, two M14 rifles, one M203 grenade launcher, fifteen backpacks with subversive documents, two hand held radios, eight cellphones, one pocket Wi-Fi, medical paraphernalia and other personal belongings.

According to reports, no troopers were injured during the firefight while undetermined number of injured in the enemy side are being confirmed as of Thursday.

A joint pursuit operation is being conducted by the police and Philippine Army along the vicinity of Boliney, Abra while checkpoint operations are established in all municipalities and nearby villages and provinces to block all possible exit routes of the suspects.

In an initial investigation, Alias Joana, was among the NPA members who raided the Malibcong Police Station on March 12 and carted away assorted firearms.

Other firearms recovered from the encounter site were three cal.5.56 MM riffles which matched the serial numbers of firearms forcibly taken from Malibcong police personnel. Authorities said continuous investigation and intensified information gathering is on-going to determine the identities of the other members of the NPA for their possible arrest and neutralization.

“Our security forces are well aware of the emerging threat and have been conducting operations to prevent terror acts anywhere in the country by members of the NPAs.

Thus, the police force and members of the Philippine Army are ready to defend their areas of responsibility against all odds and to provide security and safety to the public against criminal acts,” Police Regional Office–Cordillera Director Francis Elmo Sarona said.

Sarona also urged the public to remain calm and refrain from posting in social media any information that would tend to exacerbate the situation especially photos and videos on the movements of the government troops.

The region’s top cop also appealed to the public to be extra vigilant and responsive by providing information on enemy location and their movements so that government forces can swiftly act on the threat.

“With our collective efforts, we can make a difference in securing our people from any terror acts. That is the Filipino spirit of bayanihan. The PNP is one with the Filipino community continuous praying for the end of terror attacks and crimes against humanity,” Sarona added. (Roderick Osis) Read more: http://www.sunstar.com.ph