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Cops eye NPA in Mlang videoke shooting

Breaking News • 13:34 PM Fri Jun 19, 2015
Williamor Magbanua

KIDAPAWAN CITY - The strafing incident inside a videoke house in Mlang, North Cotabatothat left a soldier dead and a civilian wounded Wednesday could have been carried out by communist guerillas, a police officer said. Corporal Joey Espiritu of 7thInfantry Battalion Charlie Company stationed in Barangay Tawantawan, Mlang died while undergoing medication atMlang District Hospital due to a gunshotshot wound on his head. A civilian identified as Lorenzo Billena, 40 of Barangay Bialong is still confined in the same hospital after being hit by stray bullets in stomach and thigh. We don’t discount the possibility that the NPA is involved in the incident, but still we are verifying some information regarding this,” Inspector Bernard Abarquez, the town’s deputy chief of police told dxND Radyo Bida in interview. Abarquez added that Cpl. Espiritu with his three companions, all military personnel,were in the videoke house to conduct surveillance activities on alleged presence of the NPA in the area. They were caught unaware when the suspects riding in two motorcycles arrived and opened fire, hitting Espiritu, Abarquez said. Surprised of the incident, the soldier's companions failed to return fire, Abarquez said. The gunmen quickly fled toward Matalam town, also in North Cotabato. Responding policemen recovered 10 empty shells of cal. 45 pistols and a slug from unknown firearm. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack.The NPA operating within Mlang-Tulunan area has not issued statement as of posting time. On Friday last week, two soldiers were also hurt when members of the NPA operating in the town of Magpet also attacked them in Barangay Manobisa for Peace and Development Operation Program or PDOP. Captain Manuel Gatus. 57thCivil Military Officer (CMO) and spokesperson, condemned the incident since the soldiers were unarmed and were only to promotepeace and development in the village.

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