Monday, May 11, 2020

Wanted ‘NPA combatant' nabbed in Surigao Sur

From the Philippine News Agency (May 11, 2020): Wanted ‘NPA combatant' nabbed in Surigao Sur (By Alexander Lopez)

BUSTED. A team of police operatives arrest Lando G. Turaja, an alleged member of the communist New People's Army in the Surigao del Sur town of Lianga on Sunday (May 10, 2020). Turaja, 50, has standing warrants of arrest for murder and frustrated murder. (Photo courtesy of PRO-13 Information Office)

A suspected member of the communist New People’s Army (NPA) with a standing warrant of arrest was arrested by government forces in Lianga, Surigao del Sur over the weekend.

Brig. Gen. Joselito T. Esquivel Jr., Police Regional Office (PRO) 13 (Caraga) director,
identified the suspect as Lando G. Turaja, 50, a resident of Barangay Balibadon in Cortes, Surigao del Sur.

In a statement Monday (May 11), Esquivel said Turaja, who was arrested during a manhunt operation on Sunday, has a standing arrest warrant for murder and attempted murder issued by a regional court in Tandag City.

Turaja is a member of Guerrilla Front 30 of the NPA's North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee (NEMRC), Esquivel said, adding the suspect is the fourth most wanted person in Surigao del Sur.

“Our troops confiscated one caliber 9mm Bereta pistol loaded with six ammunition from his possession. Based on our investigation, he was the primary suspect in a shooting incident that killed the Barangay Captain of Cayale, San Miguel Surigao del Sur last 2018,” Esquivel said.

He said PRO-13 remains on a heightened alert against persons with standing warrants of arrest despite the health crisis caused by the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

In a separate interview Monday (May 11), Col. James T. Goforth, Surigao del Sur provincial police director, said Turaja was also involved during the ambush of a police patrol car in Surigao del Sur sometime in 2015.

“During the investigation, Turaja admitted that he was part of the blocking force of the NPA during the said ambush,” Goforth told the Philippine News Agency.

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