NPA stages more attacks in other parts of Mindanao
TAGUM CITY, Davao del Norte, Philippines — Suspected New People’s Army (NPA) rebels struck anew in southern Mindanao early Monday, abducting a soldier in Compostela Valley and carting vehicles in North Cotabato, police and military officials said.
In Compostela Valley, about 15 communist guerrillas in Army uniforms snatched a soldier at a rebel checkpoint in Maparat village in Compostela town past 6 a.m., Colonel Roberto Domines, commander of the army’s 1001st Infantry Brigade said.
The soldier, identified as Private First Class El Bryan Cañedo, a member of the Army’s 66th Infantry Battalion, was on his way to the company headquarters in Barangay (village) Poblacion, New Bataan town, onboard his motorcycle when flagged down by armed men in military fatigues, Senior Superintendent Aaron Aquino, Compostela Valley police chief, said.
“Witnesses revealed that he was brought into an Elf truck, which headed to Barangay Babag in Monkayo town,” Aquino told the Philippine Daily Inquirer in a text message, adding an investigation and pursuit operation to locate and rescue the soldier immediately started after the reported abduction.
The Compostela incident happened almost simultaneously with that in Davao del Sur where NPA guerrillas in military uniforms established a checkpoint in Astorga village in Sta. Cruz town.
In President Roxas town in North Cotabato, suspected communist rebels also forcibly took two motorcycles and an Isuzu truck owned by the banana firm Sumifru Corporation.
Lieutenant Colonel Benjamin Hao, the Army’s 57th Infantry Battalion chief, said the rebels, who were wearing Army uniforms also set up a checkpoint in the village of Green Hills at around 6 a.m. before entering the plantation of the Japan-based Sumifru.
The incidents happened exactly a week after rebels attacked an anti-logging outpost in Trento town, Agusan del Sur that killed two persons and injured two policemen, one of whom was being held by the NPA as a prisoner of war.
In a statement, the rebels’ Conrado Heredia Command acknowledged the raid made against the outpost, and clarified those killed were not ordinary civilians but “armed personnel in a police outpost doing mercenary work of coercion and extortion.”
“The 1403rd Police Mobile Group (PMG)…was a lucrative logging extortion outpost masquerading as a DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources)-PNP (Philippine National Police) anti-smuggling checkpoint…This outpost collects no less than P1,000 per truck as unaccounted SOP (standard operating procedure) fee or payola from both legal and illegal loggers,” Roel Agustin II, spokesperson of the NPA’s Conrado Heredia Command, said.
Agustin said Police Officer 3 George Sabatin surrendered to the assaulting NPA guerrillas after he sustained splinter wounds in the leg during the incident, and was therefore given medical attention by rebel medics.
“He is well now and being accorded with all his rights as a prisoner of war. He will be released and safely returned to his family following an investigation…,” said Agustin, adding any attempt to rescue him could jeopardize his safe release.
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