ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / July 1, 2009) – Security forces captured a senior leader of the New People’s Army in the southern Philippines, where military operations against the Maoist rebel group is continuing, officials said Wednesday.
Officials said Dennis Paradero Rodinas was captured on Monday in a village called Villaba in Tangub City in Misamis Occidental province, but his arrest was only announced two days later because of an ongoing operation to capture other rebel leaders.
Rodinas is a leader of the NPA forces in Westerm Mindanao and holds a critical position in the outlawed Communist Party of the Philippines in the region.
First Lieutenant Steffani Cacho, a regional army spokeswoman, said policemen, backed by soldiers, captured Rodinas during a combat operation launched by the Army’s 55th Infantry Battalion and the 10th Regional Mobile Group of the Philippine National Police.
“It was the result of a long surveillance operation. His capture is a big blow to the NPA in Western Mindanao. Troops also recovered from Rodinas were explosives’ components, a laptop, five units of cellular phones, a palmtop and subversive documents,” Cacho told the Mindanao Examiner.
She did not say whether Rodinas engaged the soldiers in a firefight or had been captured in his hideout.
Cacho claimed the rebel leader was also behind several murders in the province, including the killing of pro-government militia Ernesto Gumilid last month in the town of Clarin. “We have filed murder charges and illegal possession of explosives in court against Rodinas,” Cacho said.
The NPA is fighting the government the past four decades for the establishment of a Maoist state in the country.
Peace talks between Manila and the rebel leaders collapsed in 2004 after both sides failed to sign a deal that would end the world’s longest running communist insurgency. (Mindanao Examiner)