TAGUM CITY—The military launched pursuit operations against New People’s Army (NPA) rebels who abducted a policeman and detonated an improvised bomb in Nabunturan, Compostela Valley, on Monday.
Police Officer 3 Ruben Nojapa of the Nabunturan police was snatched by armed men clad in military uniforms at a roadblock in Purok 2, Barangay Mainit, at around 6 a.m., according to Compostela Valley police chief Senior Superintendent Camilo Cascolan.
Another policeman and a school teacher were also kidnapped but were able to escape after NPA guerrillas stopped them and other motorists at a checkpoint along the junction leading to Mainit and Anislagan villages in Nabunturan, Lt. Vilma Mojado, information officer of the Army’s 1003rd Infantry Brigade, said.
In a text message to the Inquirer, Mojado said the rebels also set off an improvised land mine in Cabidianan village, several kilometers from the provincial capitol, in an apparent attempt to stop responding Army and police forces.
Mojado said the policemen were off-duty and unarmed when kidnapped, although she did not elaborate how the other two supposed victims were able to escape from their captors.
“Troops from the Army’s 66th Infantry Battalion immediately conducted pursuit operations but [the NPA] detonated a land mine along the soldiers’ route. Fortunately, no one from the government side was hurt,” she said.
Cascolan said his office was still validating reports that several people, including civilians, were injured following the 8 a.m. bomb blast.
Cascolan said Compostela Valley police was placed on red alert, with police stations in the 11 municipalities and the two Compostela Valley provincial public safety companies put on heightened readiness.
The rebels, believed to be members of the NPA’s Front 27, fled with their captives toward the hinterland boundary of Nabunturan and Mawab, the police official said.
Monday’s abduction came two months after rebels also snatched a soldier and a policeman in Laak town in Compostela Valley. The two government troops were freed more than a month after their kidnapping. Frinston L. Lim, Inquirer Mindanao