Official Press Release: NPA Suspects in Absalon Murder Killed in Firefight
By the NTF-ELCAC Media Bureau
At least three members of the New People’s Army (NPA) suspected of killing Kieth and Nolven Absalon were killed during a firefight with government troops while conducting “pursuit operations”, National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) Spokesperson LTGen Antonio Parlade Jr revealed.
“To pursue the NPA murderers of the Absalons in Masbate City, this command through the 9th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army (PA), together with the Philippine National Police (PNP), launched operations in Masbate”, Parlade, who is also the Commander of Armed Forces of the Philippines’ (AFP) Southern Luzon Command, said.
He explained that the incident took place at around 5:30 in the morning when “joint elements of the Scout Platoon 91D and PNP while conducting law enforcement and pursuit operations at Barangay Anas encountered “around 30 members of the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) under the command of Arnold Rosero”, adding that “the firefight lasted for 15 minutes then the CTG elements scampered to different directions.”
Parlade also said that an “arms cache containing 12 high powered fire arms (11 M16 rifles and 1 M653 rifle)” believed to have been left by the fleeing CTG terrorists was discovered in a nipa hut near Barangays Anas and Bolo.
Parlade added that “the pursuit of remaining NPA criminals is still on going as of this time.”
The incident was also confirmed by the PNP through PLtCol Steve N Dela Rosa, Chief of the Masbate City Police Station (MCPS), who reported that the firefight occurred while the composite team from MCPS, 1st PMFC, RIU, 96MICO, 2IB, PIU, and EOD were also serving warrants of arrests for murder, frustrated murder and attempted murder issued by the Masbate Regional Trial Court against members of the armed group.
Aside from assorted firearms, recovered from the area were improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and components, still undetermined number of magazines, different caliber of ammunitions, war materials, personal belongings, improvised tents, utensils, bandoliers, uniforms, and others.
The PNP official said that various checkpoints in Brgy. Kinamaligan, Pawa, Bantigue, and Bayombon in Masbate City and adjacent municipalities were already set up by the police to capture the remaining suspects.
It should be recalled that Kieth, a 21-year-old Far Eastern University (FEU) football varsity player and his uncle Nolven, 40, were killed when an anti-personnel land mine was detonated by the NPA while they were riding their bicycles with other relatives in Purok 4, Barangay Anas. A 16-year-old relative was also badly wounded during the incident.
The NPA is the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the National Democratic Front (NDF). In its more than 50 years of operation, the CPP-NPA-NDF have murdered thousands of civilians including children.