NPA rebels posing as cops disarm Zambo mayor, companions

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MANILA, Philippines – A mayor from Zamboanga del Sur and his companions were flagged down and disarmed by communist rebels who posed as policemen Tuesday morning, military said.

Some 20 members of the New People’s Army seized four firearms from Pitogo Mayor Richard Garban and his driver and other companions at about 6 a.m. in Mati village across a public school in San Miguel town, Army’s First Infantry Division spokesman Captain Jefferson Somera said.

The mayor and his companions, who were on their way to Pagadian, were released after an hour.

No one was hurt in the incident, Somera said.

The rebels took away a police-issued M16 rifle, baby armalite rifle and two cal.45 semi-auto pistols, Somera said.

The insurgents were said to be members of Section Committee Jaram North-Western Regional Command led by alias Andoy.

They misled the mayor and his companions by wearing urban-fatigue police uniforms.

Pursuit operations have been launched by government forces, Somera said.

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