DAVAO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Apr. 29, 2009) – Philippine troops launched fresh operation to rescue an army soldier seized by communist insurgents in the restive region of Mindanao, officials said.
Officials said New People’s Army rebels seized Private Ronnie Trinidad at a check point on a hinterland village in New Bataan town in Compostela Valley province on Tuesday.
Another soldier, Corporal Japhet Lavid, was able to escape and reported the matter to his unit. Both soldiers, who belong to the 66th Infantry Battalion, hitched a ride on a logging truck and were on their way to their barracks when seized by rebels, said Captain Rosa Maria Cristina Manuel, a regional army spokeswoman.
The driver, she said, was not harmed by the rebels who targeted the soldiers. Both infantrymen came from a hospital for a medical check-up. “There is a search and rescue operation going on,” she said.
In January, NPA rebels freed a captured Special Forces commander, First Lieutenant Vicente Cammayo after holding him as prisoner of war for two months in Compostela Valley.
Cammayo was captured November 7 after rebel forces attacked his unit and killed two soldiers and a government militia in a fierce firefight in Casoon village in the town of Monkayo.
Last year, the rebels also released a policeman Eduardo Tumol, who was seized November 5 at a checkpoint in the village of Baogo in Davao Oriental's Caraga town.
The NPA said that both Tumol and Cammayo were investigated for possible human rights violations and other crimes related to the operations of the Special Forces and the Provincial Police Mobile Group in Mindanao.
The rebel group accused the 3rd Special Forces Battalion to which Cammayo belongs, as responsible for the series of violations to human rights, protocols of war and international humanitarian law in Compostela Valley province.
The NPA, armed wing of the outlawed Communist Party of the Philippines, is fighting the government the past four decades for the establishment of a Maoist state in the country. Peace talks between Manila and the CPP-NPA collapsed in 2004 after both sides failed to sign an agreement to end more than four decades of bloody fighting in the country. (Mindanao Examiner)