CAMP OSITO D. BAHIAN, Malaybalay City--Unidentified armed men believed members of the communist New People Army (NPA) set ablaze four houses and a church in the hinterland village of Opol, Misamis Oriental early Thursday morning.
Capt. Rene Belmonte, Jr., the spokesperson of the army’s 403rd Brigade, said that the armed men were reportedly enraged when the villagers refused to extend food to them.
He said that a village folk reported that the armed men were laughing and shouting: “Mabuhay ang NPA” (Long live, NPA) while fleeing from the area to an unknown direction.
Belmonte identified the victim-owners of the houses as Edward Villarias, Ronny Tingkang, Edmar Burlat and Avelinon Sambulay, all village residents of Limonda, Opol, Misamis Oriental.
He said that the church building belonged to the “Born Again Christian,” a religious sect.
Municipal town Mayor Maximino B Seno, of Opol, condemned the atrocities and pledge to extend assistance to the Limonda victims.
Belmonte said that a certain alias “Decoy,” of Guerilla Front 12, Sub Regional Committee 5 (SRC5), North Central Mindanao Regional Committee (NCMRC), reportedly heads the group.
The group operates in the boundaries of Bukidnon, West Misamis Oriental and Iligan City, Belmonte said.
On May 22, 2020, the group also attacked and killed an innoncent civilian in the village of Kawayan, San Fernando, Bukidnon and engaged the pursuing government troopers in a brief firefight.
Col. Ferdinand Barandon, 403rd Brigade Commander, ordered a hot pursuit operation against the communist insurgents in a bid to bring the perpetrators to justice.
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