Asia - Pacific

Rebels ambush Philippine president’s security convoy

Convoy stopped by NPA posing as government troops manning checkpoint

Rebels ambush Philippine president’s security convoy

By Roy Ramos

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines 

Suspected members of the communist New People's Army (NPA) ambushed a convoy of the Presidential Security Group (PSG) in Arakan in North Cotabato province early Wednesday.

Brig. Gen. Gilbert Gapay of the Eastern Mindanao Command told GMA News there were no reported fatalities.

But seven members of the security team were wounded, according to PSG spokesman Lt. Col. Michael Aquino.

According to a local police report, the convoy was traveling on the national highway near the border between Arakan and Davao City when they encountered the suspected rebels, who were posing as government troops wearing military fatigues and manning a checkpoint.

Gapay told a local radio station the PSG were not part of President Rodrigo Duterte’s security detail but were on their way to Cagayan de Oro City to conduct a security check ahead of the president’s scheduled visit.

Most of the security guards fled to a nearby military detachment where they were able to obtain reinforcements who engaged the rebels in a gun battle. The rebels managed to flee.

The wounded PSG were taken to a hospital in Davao City.

Police Chief Ronald Dela Rosa said earlier authorities had received information the rebels were planning to humiliate Duterte in his second State of the Nation address scheduled for Monday by launching a series of attacks.

In a statement released Tuesday, the NPA was ordered by the Communist Party of the Philippines “to strengthen itself nationwide by carrying out armed counteractions and offensives across the country” in reaction to the proposed extension of martial law that is set to expire July 22.

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