Manhunt on for NPA rebels behind ex-comrade’s death

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY: Government forces are now hunting down a group of communist New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in a far-flung barangay here who allegedly killed a former comrade, police said Thursday.

Police identified the victim as Saidor Balansi, 25, of Barangay Besigan, who was shot to death inside his residence on Tuesday evening, based on the account of Balansi’s younger brother.

The brother, Jan-Jan, told police that a group of around 30 armed persons belonging to the NPA’s Sub-Regional Command 5 led by a certain “Decoy” was responsible for the victim’s death.

In an interview Thursday, Maj. Aldren Baculio, Lumbia police chief, said the Balansi brothers joined the NPA in 2015 but they surrendered to the authorities two years later.

Baculio said the siblings surrendered to the Army’s 403rd Infantry Brigade detachment based in Barangay Mambuaya.

After their surrender, police said the Balansi siblings went back to farming.

“They were mostly being used as guides by the NPA, although Jan-Jan said they once joined in a combat operation in the hinterland area,” Baculio said, referring to the Balansi brothers’ involvement with the NPA.

He also said there were no sightings of NPA rebels in the city’s mountain villages before the shooting, although residents in the area have been seeing armed groups passing through the village on their way to either Misamis Oriental or Bukidnon provinces.

Baculio said the Lumbia police coordinated with the Army’s 4th Infantry Division to track down the assailants, who were last spotted by military operatives heading to the Bukidnon town of Talakag.

The killings of former NPA members by the communist guerillas have become common and are widely believed to be part of the rebels’ policy of reprisal.

The NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. 

(Jigger Jerusalem/PNA/SRNY/RSP)

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