DAVAO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Jan. 9, 2011) – Communist rebels killed a village chieftain after briefly holding his wife and then shot three soldiers pursuing them in the southern Philippines, officials said Sunday.
Officials said the rebels killed tribal leader Ramon Danwata, a staunch military supporter, after holding his wife hostage on a village in Davao del Sur’s Malita town on Saturday.
Three soldiers who rushed to the village were also ambushed and wounded by New People’s Army rebels, said Lieutenant Colonel Medel Aguilar, a spokesman for the 10th Infantry Division.
He said the rebels, numbering about 30, opened fire on Danwata with automatic weapons as he came out of their house upon seeing his wife being held by the gunmen.
“First the rebels took the wife hostage, and then they brutally murdered her husband in full view of terrified civilians, and ambushed soldiers who came to help the victims,” Aguilar said.
He said villagers themselves helped the wounded soldiers and rushed them to hospital.
Communist rebels also killed one soldier in a clash over the weekend in Compostela Valley’s Mabini town. On Thursday, rebels also killed three soldiers in a firefight in Davao del Norte’s Tagum City shortly after both the New People’s Army and Manila ended a 19-day Christmas truce ahead of a planned peace talks this year.
The New People’s Army is the armed wing of the underground Communist Party of the Philippines which is waging secessionist war for decades now. President Benigno Aquino said he would resume peace talks with the rebels in an effort to put an end to communist insurgency in the country.
Peace talks collapsed in 2004 after rebels accused Manila of reneging on several agreements, among them the release of all political prisoners in the country. (Mindanao Examiner)