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For a few minutes, NPA rebels took control of Sorsogon town

By Juan Escandor Jr. GUBAT, Sorsogon --- For several minutes, the New People’s Army (NPA) rebels had taken control of this town when they attacked the police station here Friday (Nov. 3) night, last week. Gubat, a second-class town with population of more than 60,000, lies at the eastern seaboard of Sorsogon province facing the province of Samar across the Pacific Ocean and San Juanico Strait. Positioned 50 meters away from the police station, which is located inside the municipal government compound in Barangay Pinontingan, the NPA rebels started the attack with bursts of automatic gunfire at about 9:26 p.m. Friday. Senior Inspector Nicolas L. Malipot Jr., chief of police, said the NPA rebels, clad in green camouflage uniforms and using M16 and M14 rifles, hit the back and side portions of the police station. Malipot said no one was hurt and the NPA rebels boarded motorcycles to flee while the police forces conducted hot pursuit operation. However, contrary to Malipot statement, witnesses along the route where the NPA rebels passed by said the police did not give chase to the fleeing NPA rebels. The interview with several witnesses, who requested not be named for security reasons, revealed that had the police conducted hot pursuit operation, many of them would have been ambushed by the NPA rebels who have positioned themselves on the side of the road. An engineer at the bunkhouse of workers in Barangay Panganiban, where steel bars for road construction are shaped and stocked, said that before the NPA rebels raided the police station, the said had taken over the place and asked the workers to secure themselves. He said even tricycles were flagged down and were not allowed to move because in case the police forces chase their decoys these civilians will be in the line of fire. The NPA rebels also fired their guns in Barangay San Ignacio at the northern part of the town going to Sorsogon City. The attack of the NPA rebels last Friday was the second time. On Oct. 15, the police outpost at the business center of Gubat town was also raided by a group of NPA rebels aboard a van and motorcycle. A policeman identified as PO2 Dennis Garbida was killed while four civilians were wounded in the daring attack that happened at past 5 p.m. On Oct. 25, Edwin Pura, 40, a member of the militant group Bayan and paralegal worker, was shot dead by two unidentified gunmen inside a resto bar in this town. The waitress of the resto bar was also killed by the two gunmen.

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