Photos released by the New People’s Army to the Mindanao Examiner show Corporal Daiem Amsali Hadjaie, a member of the 25th Infantry Battalion of the 10th Infantry Division, after rebel forces freed him and handed over to Davao City vice mayor Rodrigo Duterte, members of the religious, progressive organizations and the media on Sunday, November 28, 2010. The Merardo Arce Command-Southern Mindanao Regional Operations Command of the New People’s Army ordered the soldier’s release, saying, it was an exercise of the revolutionary movement's own political authority and is based on humanitarian grounds.
DAVAO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Nov. 28, 2010) – Communist rebels on Sunday freed a government soldier after 12 days in captivity in the southern Philippines.
The New People’s Army said it released Corporal Daiem Hadjaie, a member of the Philippine Army’s 25th Infantry Battalion, in the province of Compostela Valley.
“The order to release Corporal Hadjaie is an exercise of the revolutionary forces' own political authority and based on humanitarian grounds,” said Rigoberto Sanchez, a spokesman for the New People’s Army in Mindanao.
“His release is giving due consideration to the appeals made by sincere individuals, a Moro organization and allies including local officials of the Aquino government,” he added.
The rebels earlier warned the military of mounting a risky rescue mission to free the soldier, who was captured November 16 a rebel checkpoint in Compostela Valley’s Monkayo town.
Another rebel spokesman, Roel Agustin II, said Hadjaie was being investigated by the New People’s Army for possible crimes against civilians and the rebel group.
He said the prisoner’s unit was notorious for human rights violations in Mindanao.
“The unit he is under has been committing serious violations of human rights directed mainly at the peasant populace in the hinterland. This military unit is guilty of falsely accusing and detaining 13 civilians, including two minors, in Monkayo town as NPA members or supporters. They were illegally arrested and put under physical and psychological torture,” he said.
He said the same unit has been protecting big foreign and local mining companies accused by ethnic natives and civilians of plundering mineral resources of the gold-rich Mount Diwata range.
“This military unit has subjected civilians to harassment and intimidation. By serving as Investment Defense Force, the 25th Infantry Battalion of the 10th Infantry Division under the Eastern Mindanao Command has put the lives and livelihood of peasants and small-scale miners in danger. Their crimes against the people and the revolutionary movement have made them targets of the NPA’s tactical offensives,” Agustin said.
The New People’s Army said the soldier’s release should serve as a challenge to President Benigno Aquino III to release all political prisoners in the country.
"The release of Corporal Daiem Hadjaie today is a victory for his family, his relatives, friends and all the people who fervently prayed for his freedom and for the soldiers who relentlessly pursued the abductors to rescue their comrade-in-arms. The Communist Party of the Philippines-the New People's Army could not stand the pressure of people who condemn its underhanded scheme," said Lieutenant Colonel Medel Aguilar, a spokesman for the Army's 10th Infantry Division.
Communist rebels have previously seized government soldiers in Mindanao and released many of them on humanitarian grounds. (Mindanao Examiner)