NPA says Masbate gov not target of ambush, offers apologies

Posted at 01/11/2009 9:26 PM | Updated as of 01/11/2009 9:26 PM

The New People’s Army (NPA) unit in Masbate province has owned up to an ambush Sunday but said that their intended target was a police unit and not Masbate Gov. Elisa Olga Kho.

A statement released to media and signed by a Ka Greg Bañares of National Democratic Front (NDF) – Bicol said that the John Rapsing Command of the NPA launched the ambush against members of the 507 Police Provincial Mobile Group in Barangay Gahit in Cataingan town in Masbate province Sunday before noon.

Police said Kho’s convoy was plying the national road in Barangay Gahit when NPA rebels detonated two improvised explosive devices reportedly placed at the side of the road. The explosion shattered the windshield of Kho’s car.

The governor of Masbate province and one of her escorts were wounded in the attack. Initial reports said Kho sustained a minor wound on her eyebrow.

They were brought to Khokak beach resort where authorities said they were already safe.

The statement of the NDF official said that the van of Kho was following the vehicle of the police unit which he said was their target.

The NDF official offered in the statement the apologies of the NPA unit to the governor..

Police are now conducting pursuit operations against the alleged NPA rebels. Police forces were also deployed in the town of Palanas, near the boundary of Cataingan. 3

The communist rebels might have retreated to Barangays San Rafael and Cadulauan, police said.

The Samar Police Provincial Office has also been notified regarding the possible route of the fleeing communist troops. With a report from Jose Carretero, ABS-CBN Bicol