Sunday, November 15, 2009

NPA rebels free captured army soldier in Mindanao

DAVAO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / November 15, 2009) – Communist rebels have freed Sunday a captured government soldier after two weeks in captivity in the southern Philippines.

The New People’s Army, the military wing of the outlawed Communist Party of the Philippines, said it released Corporal Dominador Alegre on humanitarian grounds.

Alegre was captured on November 2 after rebel forces raided an army post in the village of Casoon in Compostela Valley’s Monkayo town.

“Today, the 4th Pulang Bagani Company of the Merardo Arce Command
of the New People's Army undertakes the safe and orderly release of Prisoner of War Corporal Dominador Alegre of the 72nd Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army-Armed Forces of the Philippines. This is in compliance with the release order of the MAC-Southern Mindanao Regional Operations Command of the NPA,” said Ka Nadem, a rebel spokesman.

The NPA on Thursday ordered the soldier’s release, but a government rescue operation in Compostela Valley province delayed Alegre’s walk to freedom.

The rebels accused the military of launching rescue operation that could endanger Alegre’s life. The NPA said government soldiers have arrested innocent civilians and harassed villagers in Monkayo town as they searched for the captured soldier.

“And by successfully undertaking the release in the midst of AFP rescue attempts, the revolutionary movement again showed why AFP military operations start in a blunder and end as a failure in the face of a determined People's Army cherished by the masses in the ever-expanding and deepening guerilla areas,” the rebel spokesman said.

The NPA did not give details of the soldier’s release, but a government soldier, Private Joel Quijano, was also killed late Tuesday in a failed rescue of Alegre.

Ka Nadem said: “We wish Corporal Alegre well in his reunion with his beloved family. We call on his superiors in the 10th Infantry Division to be brave enough to assume command responsibility for the continuing military losses incurred from sustained NPA tactical offensives and not cowardly place the blame on lowly enlisted personnel like Corporal Alegre for the political and military failure that is Gloria Arroyo's and the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ Oplan Bantay Laya II.”

The spokesman was referring to the government anti-insurgency campaign.
The 10th infantry Division said it would hold Alegre responsible for the loss of the weapons during the rebel raid. It said Alegre would be court-martialed.

It said NPA rebels are also holding another soldier, Sergeant Frederick Gayla who was captured in 2007 in Davao province.

The rebels broke off peace talks with Manila in 2004 after both sides failed to sign an agreement to end more than four decades of bloody fighting. (Mindanao Examiner)

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