The army sources confirmed the casualties as Private First Class Jayvi Villagomez, and Private First Class Alfredo Leonillo Jr., members of the Army’s 2nd Infantry Battalion. The soldiers were shot from behind and died instantly on the spot, before the rescue workers could evacuate them. The deceased were buying cigarettes from a local village shop, outside their military base when the incident occurred. The army further said that it has undertaken search and destroy missions targeting the perpetrators of the attack.
The latest attack is believed to be in retaliation for the arrest of NPA commander Carlito Rebamba, who was detained from the Tastas village in Albay last week. Rebamba, better known by his nom-de-guerre “Ka Renan” among the NPA circles, is the primary suspect in a number of murders and attacks against law enforcement officials in the Bikol region.
In a related development, the main NPA base in Northern Samar, located near Bobon was raided by the Army on Tuesday. However, the rebels managed to escape without any casualties. The army operation was lead by Lieutenant Colonel Noel Vistuir, the commander of the 20th infantry battalion. Last week also, there were clashes between the army and the rebels in the same area.
The SPARU unit was set up by the NPA for “liquidating” the “enemies of revolution”. During the last few years, a number of Philippine army soldiers and policemen have been assassinated by the unit, mostly in rural islands like Negros, and Samar, and in the Bikol region of Luzon.