DAVAO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / August 10, 2009) – Communist rebels stormed a military post and briefly held hostage four people, including a government soldier before retreating to the hills in the southern Philippine province of Davao del Norte, security officials said Monday.
Officials said the weekend raid occurred in Napungas village in the town of Asuncion where New People’s Army rebels carted 15 automatic rifles and a radio transceiver.
“The rebels held two village officials, a child, and a government soldier and used them as shield against pursuing troops,” said Captain Rosa Maria Cristina Manuel, a spokeswoman for the Army’s 10th Infantry Division.
She said the rebels later freed all the hostages unharmed.
It was unknown why soldiers deployed in the village failed to prevent the raid, but Major General Reynaldo Mapagu, the army division commander, has ordered an investigation into the attack.
Mapagu said that a board of inquiry to be led by the Division Inspector General has been tasked to conduct the investigation.
“This is to determine the background and the cause of the incident, lapses committed by our troops, probable violations of standard operating procedures and to come up with recommendations in order to avoid future occurrence of this sort, specifically to protect noncombatants in such cases without bowing to the terrorists’ demands.” Mapagu said.
The raid came ahead of the resumption of peace talks between rebels and government negotiators in October in Norway. Peace talks collapsed in 2004 after both sides failed to sign a deal that would put an en to more than four decades of bloody fighting in the country.
The rebels are fighting for the establishment of a Maoist state in the Philippines. (Mindanao Examiner)