The online news portal of TV5
MANILA, Philippines – Around 70 to 80 heavily-armed New People's Army rebels raided the police station of Tigbao, Zamboanga del Sur Monday night, carting firearms and taking a policeman hostage.
Sr. Supt. Jose Bayani Gucela, provincial police chief, said the suspected rebels posed as soldiers and entered the police station located at the town proper at about 7 p.m.
"They were donned in full military uniforms and one of them even introduced himself as an official but they suddenly tied our policemen up and disarmed them," Gucela said when reached by phone.
The rebels disarmed the four policemen at the station and took Police Officer 2 Faizal Juhaili as hostage when they fled on foot.
Gucela said the rebels took seven M16 rifles, an M14 rifle and a 9mm pistol.
Gucela said only four policemen were at the station during that time because other policemen were responding to a traffic accident some 10 kilometers away.
The police chief at the time of the raid was buying office supplies in Pagadian City.
Gucela said an investigation is underway to determine possible lapses as pursuit operations were conducted.
Lt. Col. Randolph Cabangbang, spokesman of the Western Mindanao Command, said the Tigbao police station is the second smallest police station in Zamboanga del Sur with only 23 personnel. The nearby Lakewood town, where the rebels fled, has the smallest police station with only 20 personnel.
Major Gen. Noel Coballes, Westmincom commander, said the NPA raid was no cause for alarm.
"The New Peoples' Army raid of the Tigbao PNP Station is not a cause for alarm. It is a case of simple robbery with kidnapping. There is nothing daring with what they have accomplished. We shall pursue them like common criminals and support the PNP operations to ensure the safe release of PO2 Faisal who was used as human shield to cover their withdrawal," Coballes said in a statement.