By Nur-Ali A. Macabalang
Soldiers clashed with New People’s Army (NPA) guerillas in Tampilisan, Zamboanga del Norte on Nov. 13, resulting to the killing of a key rebel leader and recovery of some war materiel, according to the Western Mindanao Command (WMC) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
Elements of the 44th Infantry Battalion were conducting combat operations when they encountered more or less 10 armed fighters of the Guerilla Front Flex A, Western Mindanao Regional Party Committee (WMRPC) of the NPA at Purok 2 of Barangay ZNAC in Tampilisan town, WMC Chief Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan Jr. said.
Ensuing firefight resulted to the killing of one Leonardo Nabong, alias Otik/Berto/Bonie, the former secretary and the current 1st Deputy Secretary of the WMRPC, Vinluan said, citing a report from102nd Infantry Brigade Commander Brig. Gen. Leonel Nicolas.
Nabong was also an Executive Committee member of the Komisyon Mindanao (KOMMID) and facing arrest warrants for multiple murders with quadruple frustrated murder and damage to government property, and rebellion issued by the Regional Trial Court 10th Judicial Region Branch 36 in Calamba, Misamis Occidental.
Local authorities had raised a reward of PHP 6,150,000.00 for the arrest of Nabong dead or alive, according to Gen. Nicolas’ report.
While scouring the encounter site, troops recovered the remains of Nabong and war materiel including one M14 rifle, four M16A1 Elisco, one M203 Grenade Launcher, ten long and four short magazines for M16 rifle, six rounds live ammunition of 40mm, the general’s report said.
Earlier surrendered NPA guerillas had confirmed the identity of the slain NPA leader, the report said.
The WMC said soldiers had since conducted pursuit and blockade operations against possible reprisal by comrades of the fatality, it was learned.
“We will continue to conduct focused military operations and maximize intelligence monitoring to (quell) the menaces in society to thrive in the communities in our area of operation,” said Maj. Gen. Generoso Ponio, JTF ZamPeLan Commander. (NAM)