Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Top NPA rebels arrested in Mindanao

PAGADIAN CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Feb. 3, 2010) – Philippine authorities have captured two senior communist rebel leaders who are long wanted for a string of criminal charges at a military checkpoint in Mindanao, officials said Wednesday.

Officials said security forces detained Maria Luisa Purcray and Allen Solis after they were held Tuesday afternoon at a government checkpoint on a highway near the village of Dicayo in Zamboanga del Norte’s Katipunan town.

“Their capture is a big blow to the rebel group. They are being investigated by authorities,” First Lieutenant Steffani Cacho, a regional military spokeswoman, told the Mindanao Examiner.

She said a hand grenade and subversive documents were seized from Purcray and Solis, who are both senior leaders of the outlawed Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army.

The military said Purcray is the current leader of the CPP’s North Central Mindanao Regional Party Committee, while Solis is a senior staff of the Western Mindanao Regional Party Committee.

Purcray is included in the military’s most wanted list and has a P2.6-million bounty for her capture, according to Cacho.

It was unknown whether the two was traveling on a private vehicle or not and where they were heading to, but NPA rebels are actively operating in the Zamboanga Peninsula which covers the provinces of Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga Sibugay and Zamboanga City.

There was no immediate statement either from the CPP or the NPA.

Last week, troops also captured a senior NPA leader, Elizalde Canete, after a running gun battle in Compostela Valley province in Mindanao. Three rebels were also killed in the fighting which broke out Sunday in the village of Sarmiento in Laak town, said Major General Carlos Holganza, a regional army commander.

A government soldier and two rebels were also wounded in the firefight, he said.

Canete is facing a string or criminal charges from multiple murders to robbery and homicide, the general said.

The fighting erupted after members of the Army Special Forces spotted the rebels and a firefight ensued.

The NPA is the armed wing of the outlawed Communist Party of the Philippines which has been waging a secessionist war the past five decades for the establishment of a Maoist state in the country. (Becky de Asis contributed to this report)

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