NPA take 2 Army troops, 12 militiamen captive in Agusan Sur
BUTUAN CITY – New People’s Army (NPA) rebels harassed a government militia detachment and took hostage two soldiers and 12 militiamen in Barangay New Tubigon, Sibagat, Agusan del Sur on Wednesday morning.
Sandara Amihan, spokesperson of the NPA northeastern Mindanao region, said the captive soldiers and militiamen were being treated as POWs (prisoners of war).
Amihan said the raid was carried out “without a single shot fired.”
“Fourteen soldiers and militiamen have been captured and are being treated as POWs (prisoners of war). We will treat them accordingly,” Amihan told a local radio here.
She said the attack would belie military claims that the rebel group was losing steam and support from the masses in the Caraga region.
Amihan said the rebels holding the government troops were not inclined to release them yet pending an investigation on their alleged involvement in crimes against the people and the revolutionary movement.
She assured the families and relatives of the soldiers and militiamen that the captives were being treated humanely.
Maj. Gen. Ronnie Villanueva commander of the 4th Infantry Division told reporters that around 50 members of the sub-regional Sentro de Gravidad Westland under an alias “Momoy” and Guerrilla Front 30 under an alias “Megan” attacked the New Tubigon Patrol Base at around 3 a.m.,
The Army has launched pursuit operations after the communist rebels fled with the hostages after the attack.
A separate police report said the rebels carted away 17 M16 rifles , four M14 rifles, two R4 assault rifles, and a Harris handheld radio.
The government on Tuesday said it was firm with its decision not to declare a holiday ceasefire with communist rebels upon the recommendation of the military and defense establishments. The Communist Party of the Philippines earlier announced a unilateral ceasefire from Dec. 24 to 26 and from Dec. 31 to Jan. 1, 2019.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana earlier said the rebels would only use the ceasefire to boost their ranks ahead of their 50th anniversary on Dec. 26.
‘No mercy for rebels’
In a speech at Davao City, President Rodrigo Duterte said on Tuesday that the NPA “do not deserve mercy.”
“They are all criminals. Do not consider them revolutionary. They are just plain bandits and that is the way we should treat them,” he said during the Barangay Summit on Good Governance Region XI in Davao City.
“Don’t surrender anymore because if I see you again I will shoot you. No more surrender because you are a cruel and brutal people. The national media is here. You do not deserve mercy,” he added. /muf