NPA rebels free 12 hostages taken in separate attacks

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TAGUM CITY—Communist guerrillas have released 12 unharmed persons who have been taken hostage during separate guerrilla attacks here and in North Cotabato, according to officials.

Six of the hostages, including a 10-year-old girl, had been seized by the guerrillas in an attack on a security agency office here.

The six other hostages, all van drivers, had been taken by the guerrillas in Makilala, North Cotabato.

Superintendent Epe Rillo, city police chief, said the victims seized by guerrillas during an attack on the office of security agency Dasia here had been turned over to a priest in Maco, Compostela Valley.

He identified some of the freed hostages as Terecio Laplana, manager of the local office of Dasia; his wife, Concepcion; and their daughter.

Rillo said the attack here last Monday appeared to be coordinated with NPA units in North Cotabato and Compostela Valley.

Galon said on the day New People’s Army (NPA) guerrillas raided the office of Dasia, guerrillas also set off a land mine that wounded soldiers and civilians along the Tagum-Agusan highway in Barangay Magdum here.

“It looks like a joint operation,” said Galon.

The NPA on Wednesday issued a statement owning up to the attacks, saying the guerrillas were after “legitimate targets.”

Military and police officials said the guerrillas who raided the Dasia security office wore police uniforms and pretended to be antinarcotics agents.

Rigoberto Sanchez, rebel spokesperson, said the NPA did not need to “use brute force” in the Dasia attack.

“The police and military were shocked by the attack and were able to send reinforcement after more than 10 hours,” said Sanchez. Frinston Lim, Kaiza Marie Nawal, Williamor Magbanua and Germelina Lacorte, Inquirer Mindanao

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