Hundreds displaced, rebel killed in Himamaylan clash

Mayor Benjie Miranda visits displaced residents in an evacuation center in Barangay Hilamonan, Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental following a clash between military troopers and suspected rebels at Barangay Buenavista, Himamaylan City Wednesday. (Photo courtesy of Bulig Ni Mayor Benjie Miranda via Facebook)

By Glazyl Y. Masculino

BACOLOD City – More than 100 families were evacuated following a clash between suspected New People’s Army (NPA) members and military troopers in Barangay Buenavista, Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental that killed one rebel and wounded three others, including two soldiers last Wednesday.

1st Lieutenant Raymart Africa, civil-military operations officer of Army’s 303rd Infantry Brigade (IBde), said that at least 104 families were displaced but returned to their respective homes the following day.

Based on a report from the local government of Kabankalan, 86 families were evacuated from Sitios Paloypoy, Cotcot, Tapian, and Cabangahan in Barangay Hilamonan.

According to the Army, troops of the 94th Infantry Battalion (IB) encountered at least 15 unidentified armed persons believed to be NPA rebels. The firefight lasted for about 20 minutes.

Lieutenant Colonel Van Almonte, 94th IB commander, said the slain NPA rebel has yet to be identified, while the two wounded soldiers are now stable.

Almonte said that a female civilian was also wounded after she was hit by a stray bullet. She is confined in a hospital.

The firefight happened at the boundaries of the two cities but it was more accessible for affected residents to seek refuge in Barangay Hilamonan, Kabankalan City.

In a Facebook post, Kabankalan City Mayor Benjie Miranda visited the evacuees at the evacuation center and met with the police and the military to discuss the situation of the affected areas.