NPA rebels abduct 5 soldiers in Davao City
Subscribe Now June 18, 2013 at 09:33pm
The abduction was the latest of a series of violent acts following the collapse of peace talks between the government and Communist Party of the Philippines, which recently declared that they would rather wait for the next Philippine president to take power before returning to the negotiating table for peace.
The six soldiers from the Army’s 60th Infantry Battalion were held at gunpoint by insurgents in Lubas sub-village in Paquibato Proper village in Paquibato District at about 4:30 p.m., Captain Raul Villegas, Deputy Public Affairs Officer of the Army’s 10th Infantry Division, said Tuesday.
However, an officer identified as First Lieutenant Canitan escaped while his five other companions were taken hostage by the rebels.
Villegas identified the abducted soldiers as Corporal Emmanuel Quezon, Privates First Class Ronald Gura, Bernie Padilla, Donato Estandia and Private Marteniano Pasiagas Jr.
“The troops were in civilian attire without any firearm because they were going to the market [on two motorcycles] to procure food supplies and coordinate with an NGO (non-governmental organization) for the scheduled feeding program for the benefit of the community,” Villegas said.
Meanwhile, the rebels were dressed in military camouflage uniform [battle dress attire] and set up a roadblock in the area and posed as soldiers.
But Canitan sensed something unusual, and he leaped from the motorcycle and threw himself into a ravine to escape, Villegas said.
“It is very unfortunate that the NPA bandits took advantage of the situation to achieve their barbarity,” he added.
The military leadership condemned the abduction of the soldiers.
Military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Ramon Zagala said the “kidnapping of unarmed soldiers is a clear manifestation of the NPAs becoming a criminal organization…”
“Our units on the grounds are currently conducting pursuit operations and have established checkpoints to block possible escape routes of the perpetrators,” he added.
The NPA has been waging a 44-year-old Maoist armed campaign that has claimed at least 30,000 lives. The military estimates the NPA has about 4,000 fighters.
The government had been hoping to sign a pact to end the rebellion before President Benigno Aquino ended his six-year term in 2016. But the government said in April that peace talks had collapsed.
Davao, the biggest city on the southern island of Mindanao, has long been a hotbed of communist insurgency.
Three soldiers were killed on June 4 in another part of Mindanao when they stumbled into a communist guerrilla jungle training camp and walked on a landmine.
Eight police commandos died last month when communist rebels ambushed them on Luzon, the country’s biggest island which is home to the nation’s capital.
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