Saturday, April 26, 2008

Rebels Seized Two Soldiers; Military Mounts Rescue Operation In Mindanao

Government troops onboard a military truck passes through a village in the southern Philippine province of Sulu on Saturday, April 26, 2008. The military mounted a massive rescue mission to free two army soldiers seized Friday by New People’s Army rebels in the province of Compostela Valley in Mindanao. (Mindanao Examiner Photo)

DAVAO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Apr. 2, 2008) – Philippines soldiers mounted a massive operation Saturday to free two infantrymen seized by communist insurgents in Compostela Valley province in Mindanao, officials said.

Officials said the duo, both army sergeants, was seized Friday in the village of Ulip in Monkayo town. Their fate remains unknown, but more troops were sent to track down the New People’s Army rebels and rescue the soldiers.

“There will be no negotiation and we have sent more troops to rescue the two abducted soldiers,” Maj. Raymundo Aguada, spokesman for the Army’s 10th Infantry Division, told The Mindanao Examiner.

He said the two soldiers Huberto Corbita and Napoleon Jerasmeo were onboard a vehicle on their way to the town when stopped by rebels at a road block. “The action of the NPA is a desperate attempt to pressure us to divert ongoing military operations in the province,” he said.

Two duo, Aguada said, were on an administrative duty and both unarmed. “The soldiers were attending to their administrative requirements during the time of incident. Because of the soldier’s incapability to defend themselves, the NPA took advantage of this and seized them,” he said.

Last year, communist rebels also seized an army soldier Sgt. Raul Reyes in Compostela Valley and freed him three weeks later on humanitarian grounds after his family appealed to rebels to spare his life.

Reyes was seized with two other militiamen Glorieto Mahumas and Rudy Villaflor, also a village chieftain, in October 7 after NPA forces raided a government post in the village of Canidkid in Montevista town. Mahumas and Villaflor later escaped from their captors.

The NPA said it seized the soldier after villagers complained that military units deployed in the town had been notorious in committing human rights abuses and violations. The rebels previously said the three would be tried for crimes committed against civilians. They had in the past kidnapped military generals and officers, but also freed them to the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The rebels, armed wing of the outlawed Communist Party of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front, are fighting the Filipino government for the establishment of a Maoist state in the country. (Mindanao Examiner)

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