Iloilo-city suspends classes in 16 villages after a clash between the army and the NPA

ILOILO CITY – The municipal government of the city of Janiuay in Iloilo on Monday suspended lessons in 16 hinterland villages after an armed clash between government forces and suspected communist rebels.

Janiuay Mayor Jose de Paula said he had ordered the suspension of lessons at the primary and secondary level in the villages to ensure the safety of students and teachers.

"We had to make sure that there would be no new collisions and that the areas would be free of possible improvised explosives," De Paula told the Inquierer in a telephone interview on Monday.

He said that the lessons would be resumed Tuesday.

A government soldier died in the 15-minute collision around 3 pm. on Sunday in Barangay Agcarope in Janiuay, according to a statement from the 301st Brigade of the Army.

Troops under the 61st Infantry Battalion of the army carried out a patrol when they collided with about 10 rebels who were probably under the Central Front Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) in Panay. Soldiers recovered two M16 rifles, an AK 47 rifle and personal belongings from the meeting place.

"The army continues to take offense to stop the extortion of the NPA (New People & # 39; s Army) and I encourage people to report NPA activities in your area," said Col. Benedict Arevalo, 301st Brigade Commander, in the explanation.

The clash of Sunday was the ninth since July 21 in Panay, according to the 301st Brigade.

On Friday, collisions were also reported in the city of Leon in the city of Iloilo and Maayon in Capiz.

But the command Napoleon Tumagtang of the NPA, which is active in South Panay, lies the reported meeting in the city of Leon.

Ka Ariston Remus, spokesman for the rebel command, said in a statement that there is a & # 39; misencounter & # 39; between government troops had happened in Leon. / ee

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