By Joey Natividad
SORSOGON CITY (21-June-12) -Renewed military operations in Sorsogon Province claimed the life of a civilian after a brief firefight with a unit of New People’s Army (NPA) guerillas at a mountain village of Bulan town at early morning hours of Sunday, June 17.
Killed during the cross fire was Cesar Habla, a farmer, when troopers of the elite 8th Scout Ranger attempted to attack an encampment of the rebel unit, but failed when the rebels repulsed back their planned assault resulting in the wounding of a government trooper.
The NPA rebels retreated after the brief firefight. Early reports said the dead civilian was an NPA rebel, but was corrected in an Army statement on Monday, by admitting that the fatality was a civilian.
9th Infantry Division spokesman Major Angelo Guzman said Monday the Scout Rangers were conducting strike operations at the villages of Cadandanan and Palale when they chanced upon the NPA group taking refuge at the area. The rebels fought back and hit Private Gilbert Gayo, and retreated after 10 minutes firefight.
Major Guzman admitted that a civilian was killed, and not an NPA rebel as earlier reported, and said he had asked police authorities to investigate on how Hable was killed.
In a related development, the rebel Celso Minguez Command in Sorsogon said in a statement Tuesday that the civilian fatality was shot at the back by automatic fire coming from government soldiers when the civilian and his children were running for safety during the firefight.
Rebel spokesman Samuel Guerrero, said in the statement, that the NPA unit was resting in a house about 200 meters from the place where the Hablas were sleeping.
“When the government soldiers opened fire, the Hablas ran away for safety. Habla’s son, 10 year-old Jovan, was traumatized after seeing his father got hit at the back by automatic fire coming from the soldiers,” said the rebel spokesman. [BicolToday.com]
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