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2 rebel leaders, 2 rebel's kids killed in NPA clash with troops in CamNorte

MANILA, Philippines -- Four people, including two children, were killed in a clash between government troops and New People's Army (NPA) rebels in the hinterlands of Camarines Norte Saturday, the military reported.

Among the dead were a ranking NPA leader and two of the rebels' alleged children who were caught in the crossfire, Lt. Col. Epimaco Macalisang, commanding officer of the 49th Infantry Battalion said.

The clash started after soldiers received a report that the rebels were asking for money and food in Barangay Malaya, Labo town. The clash broke when the rebels fired at approaching soldiers at about 1 p.m.

NPA members fled after 10 minutes, leaving behind two of their dead. The two fatalities were identified as Rafael Llanto alias Gopi, the second highest leader of the NPA in the region, and Benjamin Manzera, 54.

After scouring the area, troops also discovered the bodies of young boys identified as Michael Manzera, 10, and his brother Richard, 7. Both are children of slain rebel Manzera.

Major General Josue Gaverza, the Commander of the 9th Infantry Division, has condoled with the grieving relatives of the crossfire victims.

"I have offered the Army's assistance to the bereaved family members of the slain civilians. I am equally saddened by this unfortunate incident wherein these innocent children were caught in the crossfire. I have requested the PNP authorities in Camarines Norte to conduct a thorough investigation regarding this encounter," said Gaverza.

The soldiers also confiscated two highpowered rifles, including a caliber 5.56mm M4 Commando and a US caliber 7.62mm M14.
26-Feb-12, 8:07 AM | Abigail Kwok,


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