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2 dead, 4 hurt in Masbate encounter with NPA rebels

Celso Amo - The Philippine Star
2 dead, 4 hurt in Masbate encounter with NPA rebels
Officials said the firefight broke out in Barangay Mactan, Cawayan town where an explosion took place in the docking area of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) at Masbate City port.?Regional military spokesman Capt. Joash Pramis said the rebels also sustained injuries in the clash with militiamen.

LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines — Two militiamen were killed while four others were wounded in a firefight with communist New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in Masbate yesterday.

Officials said the firefight broke out in Barangay Mactan, Cawayan town where an explosion took place in the docking area of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) at Masbate City port.?Regional military spokesman Capt. Joash Pramis said the rebels also sustained injuries in the clash with militiamen.

“Some of the communist terrorists were also wounded in the firefight,” Pramis said.

“We lost two not three of our men,” he added to correct initial reports that three militiamen died in the fighting.

The PCG, on the other hand, said they are investigating last Tuesday’s explosion that injured two boatmen.

Provincial PCG spokesman Lt. Mario Acebedo said the initial investigation showed two pipe bombs exploded at the port, sinking a motorized banca and injuring two crewmembers.

Masbate police director Supt. Paul de Mesa Cabug said two pieces of six-inch PVC pipes containing at least 18 kilos of gunpowder were recovered at the scene.

He added the improvised explosive device was similar to the pipe bombs the police recovered from a rebel camp in a remote village in Claveria town last month.

The explosion sank the motorized banca MB Noylan that was docked at the pier about three meters from the blast site.

The boat’s skipper, Efren Garcia, was hurt after he was hit by concrete fragments while seawater flooded the damaged boat.

Boat owner Choy Tuazon was also hit by debris, police said.  – With Jaime Laude

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