Saturday, June 12, 2010

Maoist rebel leader falls in Mindanao

DAVAO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / June 12, 2010) – A senior leader of the communist rebel group New People’s Army was arrested at a military checkpoint in the southern Philippines, security officials announced on Saturday.

Officials said the rebel leader, Mario Cabatlao, is the Secretary of the Local Terrorist Front-15 of the New People’s Army in Mindanao. He was arrested Friday afternoon in the village of Madaum in Tagum City where military and policemen put-up the checkpoint after receiving reports that Cabatlao would pass in the area.

“A fragmentation grenade and an improvised explosive were recovered from Maria Cabatlao,” said Army Captain Emmanuel Garcia, a spokesman for the 10th Infantry Division.

He said Cabatlao is facing multiple murder charges and was linked to many killings in the towns of Baganga, Manay, Caraga and Taragona, all in Davao Oriental province where rebel forces staged attacks against government troops and civilians in recent years.

Major General Carlos Holganza, commander of the 10th Infantry Division, praised the arrest of the rebel leader and vowed to continue government operations aimed at defeating communist insurgency in Mindanao.

“We take pride in the efforts and patience of our soldiers and policemen who painstakingly took it upon themselves that justice for our people will be served. May this bring warning to all criminals, murderers, kidnappers and bandits like the New People’s Army that the long arm of the law will eventually catch-up with you and your crimes will not go unpunished,” Holganza said.

Cabatlao is the third rebel leader captured by authorities since early this year in Mindanao.

Rebel commander Zaldy Canete, who was recruited at the age of 13 to become a senior New People’s Army leader, had been captured in January in Davao del Norte province.

Another rebel leader, Renelo Creita, who was tagged by the military as behind ambush of soldiers and civilians in Compostela Valley province last month, also fell in the hands of the military and police last month. Both Canete and Creita are also facing multiple murder charges in connection with the rebel attacks in the provinces.

The New People’s Army, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, is fighting for the establishment of a Maoist state in the country. (Geo Solmerano contributed to this report)

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