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4 killed, 2 injured in bus hijacking

by: Manolo B. Jara |

MANILA: At least four people were killed and two others were wounded when suspected members of the communist New People’s Army (NPA) fought it out with pursuing government forces after they hijacked a passenger bus in the Bicol Region on Wednesday morning, police reported.

In a sketchy report, Senior Superintendent Erickson Velasquez of the Bicol regional police, said the hijacking occurred in the town of San Francisco about 200 kilometres south of Manila.

Velasquez said the NPA rebels boarded the bus on Wednesday morning and immediately announced a hijack.

When government forces learned of the incident, Velasquez said they immediately formed a team to go after the hijackers, resulting in a high-speed chase along the highway.

During the chase, Velasquez said the rebels exchanged fire with their pursuers.

The chase ended when the bus was stopped in a checkpoint established by the military along a remote coastal area, according to Velasquez.

But he did not clarify whether the rebels were among the dead or wounded.

Nor did he say how many passengers were aboard the bus.

The hijack occurred while government representatives met with their NPA counterparts in Hong Kong also on Wednesday in what has been described as preliminary talk for the resumption of the stalled negotiations.

Malacanang said the government was represented by lawyer Alex Padilla, who was appointed by President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino to head a panel to talk peace with the rebels, led by former priest Luis Jalandoni.

The NPA is the armed element of the underground Communist Party of the Philippines which has been waging a Maoist-style insurgency.


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