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3 civilians including 2 children slain in Masbate clash with rebs

By Jorge Hallare LEGAZPI CITY --- Three civilians, including two children, were killed in a crossfire when government troops encountered a group of suspected New People’s Army rebels in Cawayan, Masbate Friday morning last week, a report that reached Camp Simeon Ola, headquarters of the Police Regional Office in Bicol (PRO5) here said. Sr. Insp. Ma. Luisa Calubaquib, PRO5 spokesperson, said government troops from the 3rd Scout Ranger Company led by Lt. Karl John Cabillo were on combat patrol in Sitio Lubigan, Barangay Panan-Awan in Cawayan at 5:30 a.m. Friday when they spotted around seven communist rebels. Calubaquib said the NPA guerrillas were positioned outside the house of the three victims during the ensuing firefight that lasted for several minutes. She identified the fatalities caught in the crossfire as Lolita Pepito, 70, and her two grandchildren--Crislyn, 11 and Reden, 4. Their grandfather Paulino Pepito, 70, suffered a gunshot wound on his left arm, added Calubaquib. There was no reported casualty or injury on the government side while the rebels fled towards the mountainous area of the village.

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