Rebels raid Philippine police station

Communist rebels have raided a police station in a central Philippine town and seized 31 firearms as guerrillas made good on a vow to intensify operations.

    Rebels seized 19 M-16 rifles and 12 pistols from the station (file)

    No one was injured in the attack late on Friday in Albuera in Leyte province, about 570km southeast of Manila, said Eliseo dela Paz, the regional police chief, on Saturday. 

    Four of six officers who were having a dinner fled the station when New People's Army guerrillas surrounded the building and stormed it.

    The rebels ordered the two remaining officers to strip and hogtied them. They seized 19 M-16 rifles and 12 pistols from the station before fleeing.

    They also burnt tyres and scattered rocks and other debris on the road to slow down any pursuing police or soldiers, dela Paz said.

    Five officers killed

    Earlier, five police officers and three civilians were killed in a clash with the rebels on Masbate island northwest of Leyte.

    The clash was the bloodiest since a rebel landmine killed nine army soldiers and wounded 25 in November in central Iloilo province.

    The rebels have vowed to step up their attacks nationwide, hoping to help bring down Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, the Philippine president, who survived an impeachment attempt last year over allegations that she rigged elections in 2004.

    The Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing,
    the NPA, are on US and European lists of terrorist organisations.

    The rebels suspended Norwegian-brokered talks with the government in 2004, saying Manila had done little to remove them from the terrorists lists.

    The military estimates that the NPA has about 7500 fighters nationwide. 

    SOURCE: Agencies


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